To Hell with Culture

To Hell with Culture
'Part of today 's ideological debate ... He lends insight
to any number of topics, for instance patronage, suc­
cess, the revolutionary nature of the arts.'
New York Tmes Book Review
'One of the foremost English intellectuals of this
century.'
James King
'Read must be accounted as one of the most interesting
and penetrating minds of our time ... his work has
actually modified the thought and practice of our age.'
Francis Berry
GC T5i8S
Herbert
Read
To Hell with Culture
And other essays on art and society
With a new introduction by Michael Paraskos
� ·
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° =
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C � �
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` _ _ `
London and New York
First published 1963
by Routledge ö Kegan Paul
First published in Routledge Classics 2002
by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Routledge is an imprint ofthe Taylor çFrancis Croup
© 1963 The Herbert Read Trust
Introduction to the Routledge Classics edition © 2002 Michael Paraskos
Typeset in joanna by RefneCatch Limited, Bungay, Sufolk
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
TJ International, Padstow, Cornwall
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted
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ISBN o-415--28992-0 (hbk)
ISBN 0-415-28993-9 (pbk)
1 . .o .. W3
\
To the Memor of
Eric Gill
1882-1940
CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE ROUTLEDGE
CLASSIcs EDITI 0 N ix
PREFACE XXV
AuTHoR's Non xxix
Introduction
2 To Hell with Culture 10
3
The Politics of the Unpolitical 37
4 The Cult of Leadership 48
5 A Civilization from Under 70
6 The Symptoms of Decadence 85
7 The Collective Patron 92
8 The Secret of Success 99
9 The Freedom of the Artist 112
10 The Nature of Revolutionary Ar 125
11 The Psychology of Reaction 134
12 The Problem of Pornography 151
13
Civilization and the Sense of Quality 170
14 The Great Debate 177
15 The Arts and Peace 184
INDEX 192
INTRODUCTION TO THE ROUTLEDGE
CLASSICS EDITION
TLeoecisionolRoutleogetoreissueHerLertReao' sseminaltext
To Hell with Culture and Other Essays isonlytLelatestpartolarevival
olinterest in tLis Mooernist critic tLat Las taken place over tLe
last oecaoe. TLe process can Le seen to Lave Legun vitL tLe
majorexLiLition,Leloin Lnglano atLeeos City ArtCalleries, in
l 99? , entitleo Herbert Read: A British Vision of World Àrt, in vLicL
artvorks Ly oiverse artists, ranging lrom little-knovn lgures
sucLas]acoLlrameranolruceTurnertointernationalMooern-
ists sucL as PaLlo Picasso ano Henry Moore, vere useo to
contextualize Reao as one oltLe major critics ano tLeorists ol
Mooernism ol tLe tventietL century. :ince tLen a slov Lut
steaoyprogressionolReao-relateotextsLasappeareo, incluoing
LotLtLerepuLlicationolLisvritingsanonevcriticalanalysis. ´
Benedict Read and David Thistlewood ( eds), Herbert Read: A British Vision of World
At (London, Lund Humphries), 1 993.
2 For example, Herbert Read, AOne Man Manifesto (London, Freedom Press), 1 994,
and David Goodway ( ed. ), Herbert Read Reassessed (Liverpool, Liverpool University
Press), 1 998.
X I NT R OD U CT I ON TO T H E R OU T L E DG E C LA S S I C S E D I T I ON
Despite tLis recent oevelopment, tLe oegree ol neglect
+noroeo to Re+o since Lis oe+tLin l 968L+s Leen rem+rk+Lle.
Very quickly Lis ioe+s lell lrom viev +no otLer lorms olcriti
cism took over vLicL responoeo, quite legitim+tely, to nev
lorms olvisu+l culture lor vLicL Re+o' s ioe+s vere, perL+ps,
in+ppropri+te. lnoeeo, oespite + reput+tion +s + tireless sup-
porter ol 'tLe nev' in +rt, tov+ros tLe eno ol Lis lile Re+o
Lec+me oisillusioneovitLvL+tLes+v+stLe incre+sing trivi+l
is+tion olcontempor+ry +rt, +no Le v+s p+rticul+rly oism+yeo
LytLeriseolPopArt,
3
+movementvLoseleg+cyL+sLeenone
oltLeoomin+tinginßuencesontLe+rtvorlo lortLel+stqu+r-
ter ol+ century. Yet tLere is LotL +necoot+l +no oocumenteo
evioence to suggest + more oisturLing re+son lor Re+o's ois
+ppe+r+ncelrom tLecritic+ll+nosc+pe.TLisinoic+testL+t some
+nti-Re+ oi+n critics +no Listori+ns useo Lis oe+tL +s +n
opportunity to t+ke revenge on tLe m+n once ouLLeo ' tLe
Pope ol Mooern Art ' , +no lormul+te + revisionist Listory tL+t
+ctively vrote out Re+o' s contriLution to tLe unoerst+noing
olMooernism.
At tLis point, perL+ps, it is vortL noting tLe re+son lor my
ovn esc+pe lrom tLis m+instre+m response to Re+o. lelore l
entereo university in l 9 89, Re+o L+o Leen + sort ollolk Lero
in my l+mily +s + result ol tLe +rrest olmy l+tLer, tLe +rtist
:t+ss P+r+skos, in l 966 on + cL+rge ol exLiLiting 'oLscene'
p+intings+t+nexLiLition+ttLelnstituteC+llery,inLeeos. `TLe
oLjection to tLese +rtvorks stemmeo lrom tLeir oepiction ol
lull-lront+lm+lenuoes, +ltLougLitseemsLiz+rretoo+ytL+ttLey
vereeveroeemeopornogr+pLic,Leingp+inteoin+LigLlynon
Herbert Read, 'The disintegration of form in modern art', reproduced in
Herbert Read, The Origins of Form in Art (London, Thames and Hudson), 1 965,
pp. 1 75-6.
See Jerald Zaslove, ' Herbert Read and essential modernism' , in Goodway,
op. cit . , p. 293.
Alan Travs, Bound and Gagged (London, Profile Books), 2000, p. 202.
I NT R OD U CT I ON TO T H E R OUT L E D G E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON
n+tur+listic style. My l+tLer, +n immigr+nt lrom tLe lritisL
colony ol Cyprus, v+s extremely lrigLteneo +t Lis +rrest, Lut
HerLertRe+oc+mein,toloLimnottovorry+noevenonereoto
p+y lor tLe services ol tLe solic;tor ]oLn Mortimer, vLo l+ter
Lec+me + popul+tnovelist.Re+o +lso spoke+ttLe ensuing tri+l,
oespitetLel+ctLev+sextremelyillvitLc+ncer+ttLetime,°+no
+lloltLeseexperiencesLec+mep+rtolmyl+milyListory.Con
sequently, vLen l l+ter Lec+me + young +rt Listory stuoent l
questioneo tLe olten +utom+tic +ssumption ol m+ny olny
tutors tL+t Re+o v+s not vortL re+oing. lnoeeo it voulo Le
oißcultto over-estim+te tLe strengtLolsucL+ssumptions, +no
vrong to Lelieve tLey L+ve entirely gone +v+y +s Re+o is still
routinelyexcluoeolrom +numLerolkey +c+oemictextson+rt
+noliter+ryListoryvLereLispresenceougLttoLeexpecteo.
TLere +re sever+l possiLle expl+n+tions +s to vLy Re+o v+s
¸+no is) olten excluoeo lrom critic+l Listories, Lut tLe most
convincing stems lrom tLe incre+sing oomin+nce ol M+rxist
lormsolcriticismlromtLe l 9/ 0s onv+rosvLicL, p+rticul+rly
inRe+o' sLirtLpl+ce,Lngl+no,Lut+lso NortLAmeric+, ° leltLim
vitL +n impl+c+Lly Lostile +uoience. ln l+ct one oltLe le+oing
tLeorists+nopr+ctitionersolM+rxistcriticismouringtListime,
R+ymono Villi+ms, seemeo to conlrm tLis Ly +omitting tL+t
vLen Levrote Lis inhuenti+l text Culture and Society, +no enec
tively est+LlisLeo + M+rxist ' c+non' lor tLe pr+ctice olmooern
cultur+l stuoies, ´ Le gl+oly excluoeo Re+o to vLom Le v+s
' impl+c+LlyLostile' . TLeleg+cyoltLisL+sLeentL+ttLosevLo
lolloveo on lrom Villi+ms +no useo Lis M+rxist metLooology
Stass Paraskos, Homage to Herbert Read, exhibition catalogue (Canterbury,
Canterbury College of Art), 1 984, p. 42.
An honourable exception was Dr Tom Steele, author of the book Alfred Orage
and the Leeds Arts Club (Aidershot, Scalar Press), 1 990.
See Jonathan Harris, The Nm Art History (London, Routledge), 200 1 , pp. 1 -28.
Zaslove, op. cit. pp. 3 0 1 -3.
Raymond Williams, Politics and Letters (London, New Left Books), 1 9 7 9, p. 99.
xi
Xii I NT R OD U CT I ON TO T H E R OUT L E DG E CL AS S I CS E D I T I ON
+s+louno+tionlortLeirovnvork,sucL+sTerryL+gleton,L+ve
perpetu+teotLe +LsenceolRe+o.
Yet, p+r+ooxic+lly, Re+o`s criticismL+o + numLer olle+tures
in commonvitL M+rxism, even p+r+llelling, vLile preo+ting,
to some extent tLevorkolVilli+ms,' +no novLere v+s tLis
more +pp+rent tL+n in To Hell with Culture. lor ex+mple, in tLe
prel+ceRe+ost+teoexplicitlytL+tLe+ccepteotLeL+sicM+rxist
propositiontL+tsoci+lconoitionssL+petLelorm,reception+no
use ol +rtvorks, ' vLile in ess+ys sucL +s `TLe :ymptoms ol
Dec+oence' +no'TLeCollectiveP+tron' LesLoveoLimselltoLe
concerneovitLpreciselytLetypesolquestiontL+texerciseotLe
minosolM+rxistcritics,LetveentLe l 9? 0s+no l 9/0s, +greeing
vitL tLem tL+t in C+pit+list societies p+trons only supporteo
tLose+rtsovervLicLtLeycoulom+int+insome economic, +no
tLerelore politic+l, control. AltLougL l+rl M+rx L+o Limsell
Leenuncert+in+stovLetLersucL+m+teri+listsoci+lp+r+oigm
coulo Le lully +pplieo to tLe +rts, very e+rly on neo-M+rxists
lormul+teo itinto + tLeorytL+ttLe +rtsvere +proouctoltLe
soci+l conoitions in vLicL tLey vere m+oe, +no suLsequent
+ppreci+tion oltLem v+s tLe proouct oltLe soci+l context in
vLicL tLey vere vieveo. ' ¯ An ex+mple ol tLis v+s Arnolo
H+user, vLo took tLe L+sic oi+lectic+l tLeory ol M+rxism, in
vLicLsocietyv+sseenintermsoltLeoppositionoltLeLour-
geoisie+notLeprolet+ri+t, +nocorrel+teoitto tLev+riousLier
+rcLies, sucL +s LigL +no lov +rt, +rt +no cr+lt, Listory +no
genre p+inting, +no so on, tL+t existeo in tLe +rts. ' ` TLis
suggesteo tL+ttLe +rtsverecre+teo, useo +no m+nipul+teo Ly
soci+llyoomin+ntgroupsinoroertom+int+intLeirpositionsol
11 Zaslove, op. cit. p. 302.
¯ Herbert Read, To Hell with Culture (London, Routledge), 1 96 3, p. X.
Ibid. , pp. 88-90.
Donald Drew Egbert, Social Radicalism and the Arts ( New York, Alfred A. Knopf),
1 9 70, p. 8 6f
Arnold Hauser, The Philosophy o f Art History (London, Routledge), 1 95 9, p. 2 7 9 f
I N T ROD U CT I ON TO T H E R OUT L E D G E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON xjjj
pover, +no tLe +rts c+me to Le seen +s + soci+lly conserv+tive
lorce oesigneo to m+int+in tLe iniquitous economic +nopolit
ic+lst+tusquo, ' '+llol vLicLRe+o,vitLsomemooilc+tionsve
sL+llsee,v+s villing to +ccept. lnl+ct,Re+ov+sprominentin
promotingtLeioe+sol+numLerolM+rxistcriticsinLisrole+s
+ oirector ol tLe puLlisLing Louse Routleoge, incluoing
H+user. '
TLere vere, Lovever, +lso luno+ment+l oiEerences Letveen
Re+o +no tLe neoM+rxists, +no tLese stemmeo l+rgely l:om
Lis insistence tL+t + lrm oistinction neeoeo to Le m+oe
Letveen+rt+no culture. TLisv+s necess+ry,Re+ost+teointLe
prel+ce ol To Hell with Culture, to +ooress questions +s to tLe
n+ture +no origin ol+rt, +no its +estLeticv+lue,vLicL M+rxist
critics gener+lly ignoreo +no +rgu+Lly vere inc+p+Lle ol
+nsvering. ' °TLus, Re+o oevi+teo lromM+rxismLy suggesting
tL+t vL+t it oescrileo +s tLe soci+l lunction ol +rt, v+s in
re+lity tLe lunction olculture, vLilst tLe term ' +rt' sLouloLe
reserveo lor processes tL+t +re l+r more luno+ment+l, +no
linkeoto tLe veryLiologyoltLeLum+nLooy. TLe me+sure ol
tLis oevi+tion c+n perL+ps Le g+ugeo Ly comp+ring st+no+ro
M+rxist vievs on tLe Looy vitL tLose olRe+o. M+rxist tLeor
ists tenoeo to Lolo tL+t tLe Liologic+l re+lity oltLe Looy v+s
l+rgely irrelev+nt to society or culture, +no tre+teo it +s little
more tL+n +n ' empty Lox , tL+t is Lorn vitLout cL+r+cter or
person+lity, +no +s sometLing tL+t v+s only lormeo into +
cL+r+cter +no person+lity Ly tLe society in vLicL it is soci+l
izeo. ´ Re+o, Lovever, rejecteo tLis +no sLortly +lter tLe lirst
Vorlo V+r useo +spects oltLe nev science olpsycLo+n+lysis
to reinst+te tLe Looy +s + key element in Lum+n existence.
ln ooing so Le l+tcLeo on to tLe ioe+s ol + numLer ol
lt
Ibid. , p. 30.
Egbert, op. cit. pp. 5 6 47 .
¡×
Read, To Hell with Culture, p. 30.
¡9
Egbert, op. cit. pp. 8 6-7.
XiV I NT R OD U CT I ON TO T H E R OUTL E D G E C LAS S I C S E D I T I ON
psycLo+n+lystsvLo+rgueotL+tinoiviou+l+nosoci+lmotiv+tion
v+srooteonotintLepoverrel+tionsLipsolcontempor+rysoci-
ety, Lutin tLe unconscious neeos or oesires oltLe Looy, vitL
tLemostvellknovnoltLesemotiv+tingoesiresLeing:igmuno
lreuo's tLeory ol tLe liLioo. ´' TLe lorce oltLe liLioo, lreuo
L+o +rgueo, v+s so gre+t tL+t it v+s +n un+voio+Lìe necessity
lor tLe Looy to rele+se it, Lut tL+t tLis v+s lrequently pre
venteoLy tLe LigLerlevels oltLe mino oue to tLe potenti+l ol
tLe liLioo to oisrupt oroereo soci+l lile. lnoeeo, even vitLout
soci+l l+ctors, tLe mino v+s lorceo into tLis +ct olrepression
Ly tLe n+ture ol tLe liLioo, vLicL olten compriseo contr+
oictory +no incomp+tiLle oesires in itsell Consequently tLe
liLioo v+s represseo, +notLrougL tLis repression Lec+me ois-
torteo, or ` suLlim+teo' , into otLer lorms tLrougL vLicL it
couloLerele+seo.:ometimestLisrele+semigLtseeminnocuous,
sucL +s vitL liLioinous sexu+l +ttr+ction Leing expresseo
' +ccioent+lly' tLrougL + slip ol tLe tongue or +n unintenoeo
pun, Lut it coulo +lso t+ke +n extreme lorm in neurotic +no
psycLotic LeL+viour. Hovever, +s Ceorge VLiteLe+o noteo in
Lis l 9 30 Look Psychoanalysis ad At, ol vLicL Re+o possesseo
+copy,´' lreuoLelotLevievtL+t+rtv+s+lso+proouctoltLe
suLlim+teo liLioo. VLiteLe+o vrote. 'VitL reg+ro to +rt +no
culture ve neeo + cert+in +mount ol unoiscL+rgeo ¸i. e.
represseo) liLioo lor tLe purpose ol suLlim+tion. OtLervise,
tLere is no motive pover +v+il+Lle lor cre+tive energy. ' ´ ´ TLis
+lloveoRe+oto +rgue tL+t tLeneeotom+ke+rt+roselromtLe
neeosoroesiresoltLeLum+nLooy.´`
lnevit+Lly, tLisrootingolcre+tivityinLum+nLiologypl+ceo
gre+terempL+sisontLeroleoltLeinoiviou+linm+king+rttL+n
` Herbert Read, 'Psychoanalysis and the Critic' , The Criterion, vol. 3 , no. !0,
1 92 5 , pp. 2 1 6-20.
71
Now in the Herbert Read Archive, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.
`¯ George Whitehead, Psychoanalysis and Art (London, Faber). 1 9 3 0, p. 1 3 .
` Read, To Hell with Culture, p. 78.
I NT RO D U CT I ON TO T H E R OU T L E DG E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON XV
tLose tLeoriestL+tl+ygre+terstress on +rt +s + soci+lpLenom
enon.lntLepolitic+lclim+teoltLe l 9 30s+no+0stLisleoRe+o
to +lly Limsell vitL politic+l +n+rcLism,´¯ in vLicL Lum+n
inoiviou+lism v+s +lso stresseo, in opposition to tLe collectiv
ismolM+rxism+nol+scism. Consequently, itmigLtLepossiLle
to +rgue tL+t tLe neglect ol Re+o Ly l+ter M+rxist Listori+ns
L+o its origin in tLis e+rly politic+l oinerence. lnoeeo, it is
tempting to comp+re it to tLe une+sy rel+tionsLip tL+t existeo
LetveentLe M+rxists+no+n+rcListsintLe :p+nisLCivilV+r+t
precisely tLis time. AltLougL LotL +n+rcLists +no M+rxists
lougLt +g+inst tLe l+scist lorces ollr+ncisco lr+nco, tLey vere
+lso oltenioeologic+lly+nopLysic+llyLostileto e+cL otLer,´`+s
sLovn Ly tLe notorious +no Lloooy suppression ol+n+rcLists
inl+rcelon+LyM+rxisttroopsinM+y l 9 3/. TLecomp+risonis
p+rticul+rly +pposite given tLe puLlic +rgument Re+o L+o in
l 938 vitL tLe tLen M+rxist +rt Listori+n AntLony llunt over
Pic+sso' s p+inting Cuernic+, vLicL oepicteo tLe LomLing in
l 9 3/ ol tLe :p+nisL l+sque tovn oltLe s+me n+me Ly pro-
l+scist Cerm+n lorces. llunt +tt+ckeo tLe picture lor l+iling to
re+lize ' tLepolitic+l signilc+nce olCuernic+' ,´°Lut Re+o rioi-
culeolluntlor suggesting tL+tPic+sso sLouloL+ve p+inteo +n
im+ge tL+t +ppe+leo solely to tLe ioeologic+l Leliels ol ' tLe
communist in Lis cell ' . Cuernic+ v+s inste+o+ qu+si-religious
picture,Re+osuggesteo,sLoving tLe+gonyolLum+nityunoer
tLeLomLing.´´
ln + very re+l sense To Hell with Culture v+s + continu+tion ol
Re+o' s +tt+cks oltLe l 930s on M+rxist politic+l +no, more es
peci+lly, cultur+l tLeories, +svell +s Lis propositionol+ vi+Lle
r+oic+l+ltern+tive.M+nyoltLeess+ysincluoeointLevolumeoo
7+
Herbert Read, Anarchy and Order (London, Faber). 1 954, pp. 44-8.
73
Ibid. , pp. 89-90.

Cited in Robert Radford, Art for a Purpose : The Artists' International Association
(Winchester, Winchester School of Art Press), 1 98 7 , p. 90.
¯ Herbert Read, 'Picasso' s Guernica' . i n London Bulletin, October 1 93 8 , p. 6.
XVi I NT R OD U CT I ON TO TH E R OUTL E D G E C LA S S I C S E D I T I ON
inl+cto+telromtLisperioo,+noL+oLeenpreviouslypuLlisLeo
Ly Routleoge unoer tLe title The Politics of the Unpolitical and Other
Essays.
28
Yet, +s sLovn Ly tLe ess+y entitleo 'TLe Politics oltLe
Unpolitic+l' , vLicL rem+ineo in To Hell with Culture, Re+o
Lelieveo Le v+s +tt+cking more luno+ment+l principles tL+n
simply tLe politic+l l+Lel ` M+rxism' , +no to Le l+ir to M+rxism
Le v+s equ+lly sc+tLing olits l+scistic +no oemocr+tic riv+ls.´
TLis linkeo Lis vork very closely to tL+t olLis lrieno Ceorge
Orvell,+noitvouloLeverye+sytore+om+nyoltLe ess+ysin
To Hell with Culture +s tLe politic+l tr+ct equiv+lents to Orvell' s
novels, Aimal Farm +no Nineteen Eighty-Four. lnLotLvriters tLere
vere p+r+llel le+rs tL+t +ll ioeology, vLetLer lrom tLe politic+l
lelt, rigLt or centre, leo inevit+Lly to tLe s+me oeLum+nizeo
lorm olsociety. lnste+o oltLis, Re+o+imeo to suggest+notLer
v+y, +n ' unpolitic+l politics' , Ly vLicL Le me+nt soci+l lile
conoucteo vitLout +n inoiviou+l L+ving to suLmit Lim or Ler
sellto soci+l conlormity or extern+l ioeology. ln l+ct, in 'TLe
lreeoom oltLeArtist ' , Re+o inoic+teo tL+t sucL + society v+s
tLeioe+lutopi+tovLicLLestrove,
30
+noonemigLt+rguetL+t
tLisv+s+lsotLe type ollile ore+meoolLy Vinston:mitL,tLe
L+pless Lero olOrvell' sNineteen Eighty-Four, LeloreLisoiscovery
tL+t sucL+lileis`nigL impossiLle in+vorlovLeretLosevLo
+re ioeologic+lly oriven vill enlorce tLeir vievs on otLers,
olteninviolent v+ys.lor Re+o, M+rxism sougLt to oo notLing
more tL+n repl+ce tLe oogm+ ol Lourgeois culture vitL tLe
equ+llypernicious oogm+ol+ prolet+ri+nculture, +ll olvLicL
Le,likeOrvell,s+v+slittleoißerentinsuLst+ncetotLe oogm+
oll+scism.
3
1
TLis oivergencelromM+rxismv+s +lso evioentintLe ess+ys
` Herbert Read, The Politics of the Unpolitical ad Other Essays (London, Routledge),
1 9 45 .
` Read, To Hell wit Culture, pQ. 3 8-48.
Ibid., pp. 1 1 7 -1 8.
Ibid., p. 4 1 .
I NT R OD U CTIO N T O T H E R OU T L E DG E C LAS S I C S E D I T I ON XVii
'TLe :ymptoms ol Dec+oence' +no 'TLe Collective P+tro¤' ,
vLere Re+o +tt+ckeo tLe economic +no politic+l control oltLe
LourgeoisieovertLe+rtsin+oecioeolymor+ltonetL+tL+omore
incommonvitLsever+l nineteentL-century criticsLe+omireo,
sucL+s]oLnRuskin+noVilli+mMorris, tL+nl+terM+rxism.ln
exercisingcontrol,Re+o+rgueo,' V+nityintLep+tronol+rtìe+os
toservituoeintLe+rtist ' , +notL+t+ ' servileminois+minotL+t
L+s committeo mor+l suicioe' . Lqu+lly Ruskini+n is tLe sense
ol mor+l +utLority vitL vLicL Re+o lelt +Lle to m+ke sµcL
sveepingconoemn+tionsoltLeListoryol+rt+s' tLereissc+rcely
+ gre+t +rtistintLe Listory olmooern civiliz+tion vLose vork
voulonotL+veLeenincomp+r+Llygre+terilLecouloL+veliveo
in spiritu+l +no economic security'.
3
2
VLen one re+os sucL
pLr+ses +s ' spiritu+l security' , itisnotoimcultto concluoe tL+t
oneisnotre+oing +M+rxisttr+ct.
:imil+rly,il'TLe:ymptomsolDec+oence' c+nLeoescriLeo+s
+n ess+y invLicLRe+ooutlineoproLlemstL+tM+rxists s+v+s
outsioetLeirremit,in 'TLeCollectiveP+tron'LesougLtto sug
gestconcrete,Lutequ+llynonM+rxist,solutions.lor+n+rtistto
tLrive, Le +rgueo, tLey neeoeo tLree tLings-+ppreci+tion,
p+tron+ge +no liLerty. TLe lrst oltLese reßecteo Re+o's Leliel
tL+ttLe +rtistL+o + soci+l lunctiontL+trequireotL+tLe or sLe
eng+geovitLsociety,+novicevers+,+sc+nLeseeninLisst+te
menttL+t, 'TLeessenti+ltLingislortLe+rtisttoL+ve tLesense
ol+n+uoience. toleeltL+tLisvoiceisnotecLoingin+nempty
room,vitLnoresponse' . Onp+tron+ge,Re+osuggesteo,
I t is a fact of no smal l si gnifcance that a great majority of the
pai nters, poets and composers who have ri sen to fame si nce
the di sappearance of the (seventeenth-century) patronage sys­
tem have been men with i ndependent i ncomes derived from
i nherited estates' .
¯Ibid., pp. 88-90.
m
XViii I NT R OD U CT I ON TO T H E R OUTL E DG E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON
TLis L+o Leen sußcient to immunize tLem lrom tLe eEects
ol C+pit+listic +no otLer lorms ol servile p+tron+ge, Lut lor
+rtists vitLout priv+te incomes tLere neeoeo to Le some otLer
lorm olsupporttL+t L+o tLe s+me eEect.TLisleo onto Re+o`s
tLiro requirement, liLerty He vrote, ' P+tron+ge ol some kino
is essenti+l, Lut it is only toler+Lle vLen +ccomp+nieo Ly
liLerty' .``
ln trying to lormul+te positive suggestions, Re+o`s v+s to
some extentinoeLteo to tLeioe+solLislrieno,tLesculptorLric
Cill, to vLom To Hell with Culture v+s oeoic+teo. Artists migLt,
Re+o vrote, lorm sometLing like + cooper+tive guilo, +n+lo-
gousto+Meoi+ev+lcr�ltsguilo,vLicLvoulogivetLemenougL
corpor+te strengtL to protect tLemselves lrom p+tron interler
ence +no ensure +n equit+LleoistriLutionolcommonve+ltL.`¯
Ag+in,sucL vievs L+onineteentLcentury +nteceoents, incluo
ing Ruskin`s Cuilo ol:t. Ceorge, +no itisnot too mucL ol+n
ex+gger+tionto see Re+o+s+veryl+te CotLicReviv+list,evenil
LeL+o,r+tLerliketLe' CotLicReviv+lists' vLolormeotLeCer
m+n l+uL+us, + Mooernist eoge. Re+o L+o, olcourse, +lre+oy
puLlisLeo + p+mpLlet, in l 9 3S , entitleo Essential Communism, in
vLicL Le suggesteovL+t v+s eEectively + cooper+tive ' guilo-
ism' +s +n +ltern+tive to M+rxist collectivism. `` NonetLeless, +s
Le recogniseo in' TLeCollectiveP+tron' tLe proLlemvitLpro-
moting sucLioe+sv+stL+ttLe closest+v+il+Lleequiv+lents tL+t
Le coulo Lolo up +s ex+mples vere, ironic+lly, tLe M+rxist
+rtists' cooper+tives in tLe :oviet Union. ln tLese, Re+o
+cknovleogeo, +rtists vere still suLject to some ol tLe vorst
lormsolcensorsLip +notLep+tron inoiviou+l L+oLeenmerely
repl+ceoLytLeP+tron:t+te.`'
Ibid. , p. 9 4f
Ibid. , pp. 95-6.
Herbert Read, Essential Communism (London, Stanley Nott Ltd), 1 9 3 5 .
Read, To Hell with Culture, pp. 96-7 .
Æ
I NT R OD U CT I ON TO TH E R OU T L E DG E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON XiX
Yet, running tLrougL 'TLe Collective P+tron` vere Lin
j
s,
inoic+teo Lyjust + lev sc+ttereo sentences, tL+t Re+o v+s not
re+lly +n +ovoc+te ol ' cooper+tive guilos` in +ny c+se. He L+o
long L+o +n +mLiguous +ttituoe tov+ros tLe Cuilo Movement,
vLicL it is vortL rememLering v+s + serious +no rel+tively
poverlul politic+l lorce in tLe e+rly tventietL century,`´ +no it
v+snot+s+guilosm+nLut+politic+l+n+rcListtL+tLe+omitteo
Lis true Leliels, 'TLe true solution oltLis proLlem, +s l L+ve
insisteo +g+in +no +g+in in my vritings, is tLe reintegr+tion ol
+rt+ndvork,sotL+t+rtsimplyLecomestLequ+lit+tive+spectol
+ll tL+t is m+oe +no oone +no s+io in + community' . `° :ucL +
solution vouloinl+ct m+ke superßuous tLe ioe+ olinoiviou+l
+rtists Leing responsiLle lor +rt, +no in so ooing remove tLe
pressure olv+in +no egotistic+l p+trons on tLose inoiviou+ls. lt
vouloineEectremovetLe'prolession'ol+rtistcompletely.
Asc+nLe seen, Re+orejecteoM+rxismin+numLerolv+ys,
Lutitv+sLis +ooptionollreuoi+nismtL+tv+sproL+Lly most
signiE c+nt. NonetLeless, e+rly on Le +lso c+me to reject tLe
psycLo+n+lytic+ltLeoriesollreuo,sometLing tL+tv+snotsur
prising since, +tle+st +s l+r+sRe+ounoerstooo Lim, lreuoL+o
eEectively suggesteo tL+t +rtistic +ctivity v+s little oiEerent to
ment+lillness. `´lnlreuo' spl+ce Re+ouniEeoLislongst+noing
interest in loe+list pLilosopLy, +no p+rticul+rly tLe vork ol
lrieoricL von :cLelling, Conr+o lieoler +no :+muel T+ylor
Colerioge, vitL tLe tLeories ol lreuo' s gre+t riv+l in e+rly
psycLo+n+lysis,C+rl Cust+v]ung¯' loe+lists tenoeotorejecttLe
ioe+ tL+t tLe Looy couloknovtLe pLysic+l vorlo in vLicL ve
For example, see Read's attitude to Arthur Penty, a leading promoter of the
Guild Movement, as cited in James King, The Last Modern (London, Weidenfeld
and Nicolson), 1 990, p. 54.
Read, To Hell with Culture, p. 98.
For comment see John R. Doheny, 'Herbert Read's use of Sigmund Freud', m
David Goodway (ed. ), op. cit. pp. 74-9.
Ibid .
XX I NTR O D U CT I ON TO T H E R OUTL E D G E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON
live in +n oLj ective v+y, lor tLe simple re+son tL+t it relieo on
tLe fve suLjective senses to provioe itvitL inlorm+tion +Lout
tL+tvorlo. lnste+o, tLe Looyv+s seen to receive o+t+ lrom tLe
senses +no use tLis to construct + ment+l im+ge, or possiLle
version, ol re+lity. Put more +cur+tely, tLe unconscious v+s
cre+ting symLols lor re+ìity vLicLittLenrepresenteo to itsell
+sre+lity. TLislorm olloe+lismv+sinl+ctinßuenti+lon]ung,
vLo simil+rly positeo tL+t + person' s sense ol re+lity v+s +
proouct oltLe mino, +no tL+t consciousness resulteo lrom tLe
lusion oltvo oistinct st+tes. TLese st+tes compriseo tLe inner
sell (introversion) onone sioe, +no tLe l+cility to eng+ge vitL
tLe outsioe vorlo (extroversion) ontLeotLer. To Re+oitv+s+
tLeory tL+t suggesteo ' living re+lity is never tLe exclusive
proouctoloneorotLeroltLesecontr+steo+ttituoes,Lutonly+
specifcvit+l +ctivity vLicL unites tLem (+no) Lrioges tLe gull
Letveen tLem'¯' lt v+s + nonM+rxist oi+lectic+l tLeory tL+t
v+s to lie +t tLe core olLis vritings more or less consistently
tLrougLout Lis lile, oespite cl+ims lrom some critics tL+t Re+o
v+s+ninconsistenttLeorist.
TLisisnotto suggest, Lovever, tL+tRe+os+vtLecre+tionol
vorksol+rt+s+simpleLi-proouctoltLeprocessesLyvLicLtLe
Looy cre+tes consciousness, +ny more tL+n Le Lelieveo tL+t +rt
v+s simply + proouctoltLe cl+ssv+r Letveen tLe Lourgeoisie
+no prolet+ri+t, or + lorm olsuLlim+teoliLioo.'´ On tLe con
tr+ry, Le s+v tLe pLysic+lity ol +rt +s Leing ol tLe utmost
import+nce+sitv+stLrougLtLecre+tionolpLysic+loLjectstL+t
tLe symLols lor re+lity gener+teo Ly tLe minovere given +ny
senseollongevityinLum+nconsciousness.VitLouttLis,+per
m+nentsenseolpsycLologic+l+nxietyor+ngstv+slikely,oueto
tLe const+ntly cL+nging n+ture olre+lity.¯` Hovever, tLis +lso
Herbert Read, n. 20, QQ. 2 1 6-20.
Read, To Hell with Culture, Q. 9 1 .
Herbert Read, Icon and Idea (London, Faber), 195 5 , Q. 65.
I NT R OD U CTIO N TO T H E R OU T L E DG E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON XXi
expl+ineo Listoric+l cL+nge in +rt, since even + Leliel in tLe
perm+nencyol+symLollor re+lityv+snottLes+me+sgenuine
perm+nency,nom+tterLovfxeotLesymLol+ppe+reotoLein
tLelorm ol+n +rtvork, +s tLepLysic+l vorlo oln+ture voulo
eventu+lly cL+nge to tLe point vLere tLe symLol ol re+lity
voulo no longer Le vi+Lle. TLus, +rtists +re neeoeo to suggest
continuouslynevsymLols lorre+litytL+treßectsucLcL+nges,
+nioe+tL+timpliestL+ttLeListoryol+rtLeseen+s+Listoryol
tLecL+ngingsymLolslorre+lity.
··
lnTo F:llwith taltat:,tLerelore,Re+ov+ssuggestingtL+tvisu+l
lormsemergeolromtvosources. OneoltLesev+s+s+n+tur+l
+no Liologic+l response to tLe pLysic+l environment, +no tLe
otLer + cultur+l imposition. Re+o conceiveo tLis l+tter in terms
very simil+rto tLose +oopteo LyMæxistcultur+ltLeorists,vitL
cultur+lv+luesimposeoontLem+ssolsocietyLy+neconomic
+lly+nopolitic+llyoomin+ntelite,vLooiosoto suittLeirovn
enos +no m+int+in tLeir positions ol pover. Unlike M+rxists,
Lovever, Re+o s+v sucL positions ol pover +s ultim+tely
stemming lrom tLe soci+l perception olre+lity, or conscious
ness, ol + p+rticul+r time +no pl+ce. As +rtists cL+llengeo tL+t
perception ol re+lity, +no onereo vi+Lle +ltern+tives to it, tLe
oomin+nt position ol tLe elite c+me unoer tLre+t, +no tLeir
response v+s+lv+ys to try +nosLoreup tLe olo perceptions ol
re+lity tL+t L+o given tLem tLeir elev+teo positions in tLe frst
pl+ce. TLey tLus cre+teo institutions to impose outo+teo +no
reifeosymLolslorre+lityontLem+ssoltLepopul+ce-sucL+s
n+tion+ltLe+tres, g+lleries+nomuseums.Culturev+s, tLerelore,
nomore tL+noe+o+rt, clicLe+notLerepetitionololosymLols
lor re+lity, +no its persever+nce in society v+s LotL unLe+ltLy
+noouplicitous.
TLerev+sperL+psnovLeretL+tRe+oexpresseoLisLelieltL+t
clicLev+s tLe source olinoiviou+l+no soci+lunL+ppiness +no
unLe+ltLinessmorecle+rlyinTo F:llwith taltat:tL+nintLeess+y
'The ProLlem olPornogr+pLy' . ln it, Le+rgueo tL+t conßicting
XXii I NTR O D U CTI ON TO TH E R OUTL E D G E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON
sexu+l or lilioinous oesires vere +n inevit+lle p+rt olLum+n
psycLology,luttL+tsocietiesL+noleotLeminoiEerentv+ys.ln
mooernVesternsocietytLelilioov+srepresseolyclicLevitL
tLe most common ex+mple leing tLe repression ol+ny mem
ories lrom cLiloLooo olsexu+l oesire. TLus people vere lulleo
into+ 'l+lsememory' lormeolromtLeclicLeol+sexless,inno
cent+noL+ppy cLiloLooo tL+ttLeyL+onotre+llyexperienceo.
Re+o+lsonoteotL+tevenin+oultLoooopenoiscussionolsexu+l
oesire v+s t+loo, so tL+t ':ex lecomes + oirty voro' . Con
sequently, tLe lilioo is sullim+teo lrom its n+tur+l course in
unLe+ltLy v+ys, +no '+ll pullic+tion olsexu+l insuloroin+tion
lecomes tL+t oisreput+lle pLenomenon . . . pornogr+pLy' .
ln otLer societies, Lovever, sucL +s pre-Lurope+nizeo l+li or
fltL-century B.L. AtLens, tLere v+s no pornogr+pLy lec+use
tLereverenoillusion+rymemoriesrepressingre+l experience.
TLe lilioo coulo tLus le tr+nslormeo into tLe symlols ol+rt
+no mytL +no rele+seo in + soci+lly +ccept+lle lorm. 'TLe
oistinction' , Re+ovrote,
between art and i l l usi on is a di sti ncti on between a lost experi ­
ence that has been recovered and made part of the present
real ity, and a l ost experi ence that remai ns unconsci ous because
i t i s screened i n cl i ches and the ready-made conventi ons of
moral ity.44
ln+rguing tL+titv+sonlytLel+tter +ttituoeto sextL+tleo to
pornogr+pLy,+nonot sex, nuoityoroesireper se, itise+sytosee
vLyRe+ov+s mucL+omireo lyAlexComlort,¯` vLose look
The Joy of Sex oiosomucLtol+uncLtLe ' sexu+lrevolution'oltLe
Read, To Hell wit Culture, p. Io2 f
Comfort dedicated his book Art ad Socia] Responsibility (London, Falcon Press),
1 946, to Read, and was involved with him in a number of projects. See John R.
Doheny, ' Herbert Read as Literary Critic', in Goodway, op. cit. p. 62.
Æ
I N T R OD U CT I ON TO TH E R OU T L E DG E C LAS S I CS E D I T I ON XXiii
l 960s+no /0s.Also,itexpl+insvLyRe+ov+ssosupportiveol
myl+tLer+tListri+linLeeos.¯"
To Hell with Culture is+ collectionoless+ystL+toispl+ysRe+o`s
gener+llilert+ri+n +ttituoe tov+ros +rt +no society, +nointense
ioeologic+l oislike ol+ll lorms olcultur+l controlon tLe inoi-
viou+l. ln common vitL M+rxist tLeorists, Le s+v lourgeois
cultur+l institutions +soeliler+te +gents lor soci+lcontrolor, il
lounoeovitL gooointentions,too open to m+nipul+tionto le
lor tLe long term gooo. Unlike M+rxists, Lovever, Lis solution
v+s not simply to repl+ce tLose institutions vitL prolet+ri+n
ones, lut in +ccoro+nce vitL Lis +n+rcList politic+l leliels, to
empoverinoiviou+ls.Asst+teoin 'ACiviliz+tionlromUnoer`,il
institutions lor +rt sLoulo exist tLey mustnotle pl+ces ' vLere
tLe p+st is preserveo' , lut experiment+l centres 'vLere tLe
luture is lorec+st`. Only in tLis v+y coulo tLey counter tLose
re+ction+ry lorces tL+t imposeo on inoiviou+ls tLeir cultur+l
v+lues, +no tLe iniquitous vision ol re+lity tL+t tLose cultur+l
v+luesrepresenteo. ltv+s lor tLis re+son tL+tRe+o st+teo, ' cul-
tur+l institutions imposeo on tLe m+sses +re so mucL oe+o
veigLt-toLellvitLsucLculture'
MlCHALLPARA:KO:
LecturerinlineArt,
UniversityolHull
]une!00!
¯ Benedict Read, ' Herbert Read: An Overview', in Benedict Read and David
Thistlewood (eds), op. cit. pp. 1 8-20.
Read, To Hell wi t Culture, p. 8 4.
Æ
PREFACE
:ever+l ol tLese ess+ys +re reprinteo lrom + v+rtime volume
vLicLlc+lleoThe Politics of the Unpolitical. lytL+tp+r+ooxic+ltitlel
me+nt to inoic+te tL+t tLe +rtist +lv+ys L+s loy+lties tL+t tr+n
sceno tLe politic+l oivisions oltLe society invLicL Le lives. lt
v+snot+n+ccept+Llepointolvievin l 9+3,+no+ltertLev+rit
seemeo to Lelorever superseoeo Lyv+rious ooctrines olun art
engage-an +rtoeoic+teototLeoelence+noprop+g+tionol'+v+y
ollile' -tLev+yollile, inourVesternvorlo,Leingunoerstooo
+s lree enterprise in economics +no oemocr+tic lorms ol
government. TLe l+te ol+rt +no liter+ture in countries vLere
tLese v+lues vere oenieo, tLe tot+lit+ri+n countries, v+s tLe
prool Ly neg+tion ol +rt' s involvement in tLe gre+t politic+l
struggleolourtime.ltv+snotmerely+questionolm+int+ining
ourpolitic+lliLerty.cultureitsell-ourpoetry,ourp+inting,our
+rcLitecture +no music-v+s tLre+teneo Ly our politic+l
opponents+noL+otoLeoelenoeo.
TLis oelensive +ttituoe v+s lorceo on tLe intelìectu+ls ol
tLe Vest Ly tLe cultur+l +ggression ol tLe communists. TLe
XXVi P R E FAC E
inexor+Llel+vsolDi+lectic+lM+teri+lism,veveretolo,+pplieo
notonly to tLe economicstructure olc+pit+lism, Lut +lso to its
ioe+listic superstructure. lotL +like voulo perisL +no Le
repl+ceoLy+nevsocietyvitLitsnevcultur+lioe+ls.lneeonot
reler to tLem+nyoi+lectic+l+n+lysesol+rt+noliter+turevLicL
tr+ceo tLeir stylistic evolution in pL+ses p+r+llel to society' s
economicevolution.
ln so l+r +s culture is + superEci+l pLenomenon (+n epi
pLenomenon, +s tLese sociologists c+ll it) , tLis m+teri+listic
interpret+tionis true, inoeeo, it ooes notrequire tLe metLoo
ologyolM+rxismtooemonstr+tetL+tHomer' sim+gerysprings
lrom+neolitLicculture,or:L+kespe+re' slrom+merc+ntilecul
ture.Person+llylc+ntr+vel+longv+yvitLtLeM+rxistsintLeir
+n+lysis oltLe soci+l origin oltLe lorms+nouses ol+rt.VL+t
neitLer tLe M+rxists nor tLeir opponents c+n expl+in Ly tLeir
ooctrin+ire metLoos is tLe pLenomenon olgenius in +rt. tLey
c+nnot expl+in tLe n+ture oltLe +rtist noreventLe conoitions
tL+toetermineLiseccentricexistence.
ln tLe Listory ol +rt, tLe genius is ln+lly +ll tL+t m+tters.
UnlessHomer+no:L+kespe+re+notLeirkinoL+d'L+ppened'in
tLeir inconsequent +no unpreoict+Lle v+y, tLe Listory ol +rt
voulo Le like tLe Listory ol +ny otLer skill-toolm+king or
+griculture. Art is oistinguisLeo Ly its suooen glories, its
irr+tion+l +no irregul+r irruptions ol ligLt in tLe miost ol +
univers+lo+rkness.
ltlollovs tL+t +rt, initsessence,isinoepenoentolpolitics-
+s, inoeeo, it is inoepenoent olmor+ls +no +ll otLer tempor+l
v+lues.ltis+s+o+notruel+cttL+ttLe +rtisticgeniusisetLic+lly
unreli+Lle. TLe Listory ol+rt is rile vitL perversion, +oultery,
covetousness +no spite. ln tLis respect +rtists +re neitLervorse
norLettertL+notLermen.As+rtiststLey+re+lltooLum+n.
TLe +rtist is tLe supreme egoist, +no Lis lellovcitizens not
only oistrust Lim, Lut olten voulo like to oestroy Lim ln
tot+lit+ri+n societies tLis lrequently L+ppens, Lut even +
P R E FAC E XXVii
Lloodymindeo tyr+nt like :t+lin le+rs to elimin+te + P+stern+k.
P+stern+kis, inoeeo, tLeLeroicprototypeoltLeliter+rygenius,
inc+p+Lle ol conlormity, le+rless, ioentilying Limsell vitL
Lum+nity+ndnotvitL+country,+politic+lp+rtyor+ooctrine.
Cenius +lv+ys possesses tLis inoeEnite concreteness, tLis p+s-
sion+tep+rticul+rity,tLispieceme+lintegrity.ltisoltLeessence
olgeniustoLeuncommitteoto+ny+Lstr+ction.
ly using tLe voro ' genius' +no Ly mentioning sucL proto-
types +sHomer +no :L+kespe+re, leetLoven +no Tolstoy, lm+y
seemtoLesettingn+rrovlimitstotLelelool+rt,LuttL+tisnot
my intention. Cenius c+nLe +Lsolute, +sve suppose itto L+ve
Leen in tLe c+se ol Homer, Lut more lrequently it is + r+re
visit+tion,+Ere tL+tseemstodescenoontLe+rtistlrom+notLer
re+lm olLeing. TLere is notLing specilc+lly +ristocr+tic +Lout
it-it seems to Le+Lsolutely+rLitr+ryinitsm+nilest+tions, +no
c+n +s likely visit tLe pe+s+nt' s crolt +s tLe p+l+ce or +c+oemy.
TL+tisvLy itis illogic+l to +ssoci+te itvitLpolitic+l lreedom.
TLe+rtistenjoyslreeoom+noisL+r+sseoLytyr+nny.luttLereis
no re+sonto supposetL+t+ democr+tic system olgovernment,
soc+lleo,is+nymorel+vour+LletotLeprev+lenceol+rttL+ntLe
systemsvec+ll+ristocr+tic, olig+rcLicortot+lit+ri+n.
lmustm+kemysellverycle+r,lortLispointolvievis e+sily
misrepresenteo,+noyetistLecentr+ltLemeolmyLook.
TLere is, ol course, + sense in vLicL +rt is suLject to tLe
cL+ncesvLicL Leset +ny otLer lorm ollile-it c+n simply Le
crusLeo Ly +overse pLysic+l lorces, Ly v+r +no l+mine +no
pl+gue. ln tLis respect +rt voulo suner equ+lly vL+tever tLe
prev+iling system ol government. lt c+n +lso suner lrom
neglect-genius c+n Le stiß eoLy poverty,ignor+nce +no mis
unoerst+noing. lut it isvrong to +ssume tL+ttLere is +ny in-
Lerentlorceinoemocr+cytL+tencour+gestLeemergenceoltLe
+rtist. lnoeeo, inso l+r +soemocr+cyis + levelling process-+n
ioeology olnorm+lcy +no eg+lity-it vorks +g+inst genius ol
+ny kino, +noinp+rticul+r +g+inst tLeinoiviou+lvLose vorkis
XXViij P R E F AC E
not venoiLle Ly tLe usu+l economic metLoos. TLe +rtist i s +n
'outsioer' in+ oemocr+tic community, +no+ll our scLemes lor
oemocr+tic p+tron+ge oltLe +rts c+nnot oisguise tLe l+ct. Our
present+muentsocietiesc+st+veryvioenet,LuttLemesLes+re
co+rse +no tLe gesture isLlino. ltisintLen+ture oloemocr+cy
tL+titc+nnotoiscrimin+te. its sensiLilityisLlunteoin commit·
teevork, oissip+teo inLure+ucr+ticproceoures, oeLum+nizeo
Ly org+niz+tions. AestLetic sensiLility is inoivisiLle. itis tr+ns·
mitteo, +sM+rtinluLervoulos+y,onlyLetveenm+n+nom+n.
Myconclusion,tLerelore,istL+t+rtinitscre+tive+spectsL+s
little concern vitL oemocr+cy, or vitL communism,
1
or +ny
otLer politic+l system. lt is +n unpolitic+l m+nilest+tion oltLe
Lum+n spirit, +no tLougL politici+ns m+y use it or +Luse it
lor tLeir enos, tLey c+n neitLer cre+te it nor control it-nor
oestroyit.
TLis, Lovever, ooes not me+n tL+t + society c+n ignore its
+rtists.lnoeeo,mystrongestLelielispreciselytLecontr+ry.Artis
+lv+ystLeinoexolsoci+lvit+lity,tLemovingnngertL+trecoros
tLe oestiny ol+ civiliz+tion. A vise st+tesm+n sLoulo keep +n
+nxious eye on tLis gr+pL, lor it is more signilc+nt tL+n +
oeclineinexportsor+l+llintLev+lueoltLen+tion' scurrency.
H. R.
Ocfonsa, l 96!
On the ambiguity of these words, see pages 3 9-43 below.
AUTHOR'S NOTE
TLe ess+ys collecteointLisvolume +re olv+rious o+te +no ori
gin,+no+ll L+ve LeensuLmitteoto + gooooe+lolrevision+no
re+rr+ngement.TLetitleess+yv+slrstpuLlisLeo+s+p+mpLlet
in tLe Democr+tic Oroer :eries (Routleoge, l 9+l ) . TLis ess+y
+nonineotLersvere collecteo in+volume entitleo The Politics of
the Unpoli tical (Routleoge l 9+3) . To tLese lL+venov +ooeo lve
ess+ys not LitLerto puLlisLeo in + volume. TLree oltLese lrst
+ppe+reo in The Sewanee Review, The London Magazine +no The Saturday
Review (NevYork) . TLeess+yonpornogr+pLyv+scontriLuteoto
+ symposium on tLe suLjectpuLlisLeoLy Routleoge õ leg+n
l+ul(l 9 6 l ) . 'TLe:ecretol:uccess`v+sorigin+llyLro+oc+st (in
Cerm+n) ontLeUniversityoltLeAir.TLere+resLorterp+ss+ges
incorpor+teo lrom otLer sources. l voulolike to tL+nk tLose
editorsvLog+vemyopinionstLeirnrstpuLlicity.
H. R.
æ
1
INTRODUCTION
There are no abstract truths-no Mass-Man, no proletariat.
There is only Man. When the Pulse has been nailed upon the
crossbeams, lo, Reason gives up its viable breath and
becomes a wandering ghostly Error. Truth and folly are ever
about to expire, so that we, like our beloved Sancho Panza
kneeling at the death-bed of Don Quixote, must always be
ready to go out to receive the holy communion of cudgels and
distaffs, for the rebirth of the Pulse, living anew, in our veins
and bones, as the quickened Truth.
Edward Dahlberg, Do These Bones Live? (New York, 1941).
Lversincedemocr+cyLec+meacle+rpolitic+lconceptionintLe
cityst+te olAtLens, democr+tic pLilosopLers L+ve Leen l+ced
vitLtLe +nom+ly oltLe +rtist. lt L+s seemed to tLemtL+ttLe
+rtist, Ly Lisveryn+ture, c+nnot Le +ccommod+tedvitLintLe
structure olan eg+lit+ri+n community. He isinevit+Lly a soci+l
misEt, to norm+lpeople a psycLotic, +nd lor r+tion+l tLinkers
like Pl+to tLe only solution v+s to L+nisL Lim lrom tLe com
munity. A modernr+tion+listvouldproL+LlyrecommendtL+t
LesLouldLecuredolLispsycLosis.
2 I N T R ODU CT I ON
TLere +re tvo m+in proLlems. (l ) VL+t i s i t tL+t seems to
separate tLe +rtist lrom tLe rest oltLe community, m+king Lim
unique +mongmen? (!)VL+tisittL+tnevertLelessreconciles tLe
community to tLis sep+r+tist inoiviou+l-tLat is to s+y, vL+t
v+luesooestLe+rtistcontriLutetotLecommunitytL+tm+ketLe
community+cceptortoler+teLispresence+mong tLem?
TLeess+ysvLicL+recolìecteointLisvolumereturn+g+in+no
+g+intotLeseproLlems,+noLyv+yolintroouctionlsLoulolike
to+ttempt+gener+lsumm+ryoltLevievlL+ve¡utlorv+ro.
Ve ougLt lrst to oecioe vLetLer tLe +rtist is pLysic+lly
unique. Ve knovtL+tm+nkinoisoivisiLle into v+rious oistinct
psycLologic+l types, +notL+ttLesetypesL+ve+ L+sis inpLysio
logic+ll+ctors.lstLe+rtistsucL+type?TLereisacert+in+mount
olevioencevLicLsuggeststL+tLeis.Ve knovtL+tsomemusi
ci+ns possess vL+t is c+lleo ' +Lsolute pitcL` . lt is + n+tur+l ois
position vLicL is inLeriteo +no vLicL c+nnot Le +cquireo. A
simil+r l+culty in poets +no pl+stic +rtists is not so commonly
recognizeo,LutnevertLelessitexists.lnpoetry itis+n +Lsolute
av+reness oltLe ioentity olvoro+noim+ge, +nointLepl+stic
+rtsitproL+Llyt+kestLelormolvL+tvec+ll 'anintuitivesense
ol proportion' , vitL or vitLout +n intuitive sense ol colour
L+rmony, +no tLese ' senses' +re strictly +n+logousto tLe musi
cian' s+LsolutepitcL.TLesel+cts,+ltLougLincompletelyinvesti
g+teo, must, l tLink, Le +omitteo. lutit must +lso Le+omitteo
tL+ttLey+re not essenti+l. :ever+ll+mous composersL+ve Leen
vitLout +Lsolute pitcL, +no tLere L+ve cert+inly Leen poets
vitLout+Lsoluteioentity olvoro+noim+ge-inl+ct, to insist
on sucL +n ioentity, in viev ol tLe limit+tions ol l+ngu+ge,
voulo consioer+Lly restrict tLe range olpoetry. One c+n +lso
e+silytLinkolgre+tp+intersvLosecoloursenseL+sLeenoelect
ive, +noolgre+t+rcLitectsvLoL+veL+otorelyonconsciously
+pplieo c+nons ol proportion. ln tLe eno, tLe most tL+t one
vouloLe+Lletocl+imistL+ttLepossessionolsucLuniquegilts
merelygivesspeci+lqualitytotLevorkol+p+rticul+r+rtist.
w
Ì N T R OD U CTI O N
Ap+rt lrom tLe occ+sion+l possession olsucL pLysiologic+l
peculi+rities,itisolvioustL+ttLe+rtistisnot+sep+r+tepsycLo
logic+l type. TLere +re introvert +no extr+vert +rtists, scLizo-
pLrenic+nom+nic-depressive+rtists.lnl+ct,everypsycLologic+l
type is potenti+lly +n +rtist-vLicL is only +notLer v+y ol
+greeingvitLLricGilltL+teverym+nis+speci+lkinool+rtist.
TLe +ccept+nce ol tLis l+ct-+no l lor one oo +ccept it-
involvesuslogic+llyin+n+omissiontL+t+rtis skill. +m+nooes
sometLingsovellth+tLeisentitleotoLec+lleo+n+rtist.Ve +re
stillleltvitL+vioescopelor +rgument,lorve must+skvL+t
tL+tsometLingis. vL+tistLepurposeoltL+tskill?
lt v+s +t tLis pointtL+tCill +no l, in our prolongeo oiscus
sions, useo to oiverge, lor l voulo insist tL+t +rt is not merely
skilltom+ke,Lutalsoskillto express. LxpressvL+t? Cillvoulo
+sk, +no ill v+s careless enougL to use + pLr+se sucL +s. ' To
expressLispersonality' , CillvouloLe+tmevitLtLem+llet+no
cLiselLekeptinLisminonolesstL+ninLisL+nos, oem+noing
il lL+oeverseena¡erson+lity,+noLovinCoo'sn+meitcoulo
Le expresseo exce¡t intLem+kingolsometLing uselul.Anoso
tLe +rgumentvent on, toitsinconclusiveeno.lutl stillm+in
t+in tL+t tLere is a sense in vLicL +rt is expression +s vell +s
m+king, +no it is i mport+nt tL+t l sLoulo m+int+in my point,
Lec+useitLearsoirectlyontLisproLlemoltLe+rtist+nosociety.
loritisnotsumcienttos+ytL+ttLe+rtistis+skilleovorker,+no
tL+tLevill+lv+ys lev+lueoLytLecommunityLec+useLisskill
isuselul.TLetrutL is tL+ttLe +rtistisveryolten(oltenestvLen
Le is gre+test) oEeringsometLing to tLecommunityvLicLtLe
community ooes not v+nt to +ccept, vLicL tLe community +t
lrstfnosveryunpal+t+Lle.
TLe mist+ken present+tion olmy point olviev, olvLicL l
L+ve mysell Leen guilty in tLe p+st, is to oescriLe +rt +s sJ|
expression. ll every +rtist merely expresses tLe uniqueness
+no sep+r+teness olLis sell, tLen +rt migLt Le oisruptive +no
+ntisoci+l.Alotol+rtintLep+stL+sLeenoltL+tkino,+noL+s
3
4 I NT R OD U CT I ON
givenrisetotLevLoleproLlemol 'oilett+ntism' Asoci+l+rtc+n
neverLeoilett+nte-oilett+nte+rtc+nneverLesoci+l.
OLviouslytLe gre+t +rtist vLo is not merelym+king some
tLing, like + c+rpenter or + coLLler, Lut expressing sometLing,
like :L+kespe+re or MicLel+ngelo or leetLoven, is expressing
sometLingLiggertL+nLisself. :ellexpression,likesellseeking,
is+nillusion. ltistLe+ctionol+n inoiviou+lvLopits Limsell
+g+inst tLe community, vLo s+ys l +m Ligger, or Letter, or
strongertL+notLer men, +novilltLereloreensl+vetLem,m+ke
tLemserve my inoiviou+l purposes. lut+ oemocr+cy voulo Le
rigLttoresenttLepresenceolsucLinoiviou+lsinits miost, lor
oemocr+cyst+rtslromtLepropositiontL+t+llmen+reequ+l-il
tLis oogm+ is not +ccepteo, tLen tLevoro oemocr+cy is Leing
useo in+ sense vLicL l oo notreg+ro +s legitim+te. TLe voro
oemocr+cy sLoulo +lv+ys imply, notonlyliLerty +nolr+ternity,
Lut+lsoequ+lity.
:ocietyexpects sometLingmoretL+nsell-expressionlromits
+rtists,+nointLec+seolgre+t+rtists sucL+stLoselL+vemen
tioneo, itgets sometLingmore.lt gets sometLingvLicLmigLt
Lec+lleolile-expression. lut tLe ' lile' to Le expresseo, tLe lile
vLicL is expresseo in gre+t+rt, isprecisely tLelile oltLe com
munity, tLe org+nic group consciousness. lt is tLe +rtist' sLusi
nesstom+ketLegroup+v+reolitsunity,itscommunity.Hec+n
oo tLis Lec+use Le, more tL+n otLer men, L+s +ccess to tLe
common unconsciousness, to tLe collective instincts vLicL
unoerlietLeLrittle surl+ce olconvention +no norm+lity.l c+n-
nots+yvLytLe+rtistsLouloL+ve tLisgilt,+nymoretL+nlc+n
s+yvLyLeL+s +Lsolute pitcL, etc.ltisproL+Lly+ consequence
olLis e+rly upLringing, tLe +ctu+l course olLis +o+pt+tion to
society in e+rliest inl+ncy-tLe complic+teo process vLicL
psycLo+n+lysis is slovly reconstructing. VL+tever tLe expl+
n+tion,tLelunctionoltLe+rtistinmooernsocietyismucLtLe
s+me +s tL+t oltLe meoicine-m+n or m+gici+n in + primitive
society. Le is tLe m+n vLo meoi+tes Letveen our inoiviou+l
I NTR O D U CT I L N
consciousness +no tLe collective unconsciousness, +no tLus
ensures soci+l reintegr+tion. lt is only in tLe oegree tL+t tLis
meoi+tionissuccesslul tL+t+trueoemocr+cyispossiLle.
1Lisoßceolmeoi+tionc+nnotLelorceoupontLe +rtistHis
lunctionisc+t+lytic-Le+iostLesoci+lrevolutionvitLoutLim-
sellunoergoing +ny cL+nge, vitLout Leing +LsorLeo Ly tLe
soci+l suLst+nce. TL+t, itseemsto me,istLecentr+l ooctrineol
VorosvortL' s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, vLicL is proL+Lly tLe
most c+relul oefnition oltLe poet' s lunction ever m+oe. l do
not tLink tLere +re +ny essenti+l proLlems ol tLe +rtist in +
mooern society vLicL ve oo not Eno +nticip+teo tLere. TLe
Preface v+sErstpuLlisLeoin l 800-+t+ time, tL+tistos+y, very
comp+r+Lle to our ovn. Tvo ye+rs e+rlier, in l /98 , Voros-
vortL' s politic+l consciousness L+o re+cLeo + crisis-Le L+o
experienceo+En+loisillusionmentvitLtLelrencLRevolution.
TLecrisislorsom+ny¡oets+no+rtistsoltoo+yisolex+ctlytLe
s+me n+ture. TLe signing ol tLe p+ct Letveen Cerm+ny +no
Russi+ v+s proL+Lly tLe Lre+kingpoint, Lut tLe Moscov tri+ls
+no executions, +no+gr+ou+lre+liz+tiontL+ttLeRussi+nRevo
lution L+o lolloveo precisely tLe s+me course +s tLe lrencL
Revolution, L+o cre+teo + psycLologic+l tension vLicL v+s
Lounoto Lre+ksoonerorl+ter.Hunoreosolpoets+no+rtistsol
every kino louno tL+t tLeir ioe+lism v+s suooenly oe+o-
Letr+yeo Ly tLe cynic+l politici+ns vLo L+o lor so long
oeceiveo tLem. Poets vLo novturn in on tLemselves, to ois-
cover tLetrutL+Lout tLe poet +no society, Legin to tre+o tLe
s+me l+LyrintL +s VorosvortL. TLey migLt s+ve tLemselves
mucL trouLle Ly re-re+oing tLe Preface, veigLing it pLr+se Ly
pLr+se.
Tvo p+rticul+rly relev+nt pLr+ses to vLicL l sLoulo like to
or+v +ttention +re L+seo on tLe voros 'ple+sure' +no ' tr+n-
quillity' . TLe secono pLr+se is tLe more l+mili+r, tLougL it is
ne+rly +lv+ys oistorteo in quot+tion. 'poetry takes its origin from
emotion recollected in tranquillity' . TLe ErstpLr+seL+s notc+ugLttLe
5
6 I NT R OD U CT I ON
popul+rim+gin+tionsore+dily, tLougLi t i s nolessstriking. ' We
have no sympathy but what is propagated by pleasure. '
TLissecondpLr+se,expl+insVordsvortL,relersto ' tLegr+nd
element+ry principle olple+sure, Ly vLicL ¸m+n) knovs, +nd
leels,+ndlives,+ndmoves. . . veL+venoknovledge,tL+tis,no
gener+l principle dr+vn lrom tLe contempl+tion olp+rticul+r
l+cts,LutvL+tL+s LeenLuiltup Lyple+sure, +ndexistsinusLy
ple+sure +lone' . lurtLer, ' vLereverve symp+tLizevitLp+in, it
villLe loundtL+t tLesymp+tLy isproduced+nd c+rried onLy
suLtlecomLin+tionsvitLple+sure' .
TLisst+tement,vLicLmigLtL+veLeenderivedlromLpicurus
or Lucretius, is +lso rem+rk+Lle +s +n +nticip+tion ol lreud' s
ple+sureprinciple. (Cl. ' Ve m+y put tLe question vLetLer +
m+in purpose is discerniLle in tLe oper+tion ol tLe ment+l
+pp+r+tus, +nd our lrst +ppro+cL to +n +nsver is tL+t tLis
purpose is directed to tLe +tt+inment olple+sure. lt seems tL+t
our entire psycLic +ctivity is Lent upon procuring pleasure +nd
avoiding pain, tL+t it is +utom+tic+lly regul+ted Ly tLe ple+sure
principle. ' ' ) lutve+reconcernednovvitLtLelunctionvLicL
VordsvortL gives to tLis ple+sureprinciple in tLe process ol
• • . 1
poetic+ctivity.
lt is + lunction tL+t en+Lles us to return to tLe +rtist tLe
uniquenessvLicLveLeg+nLyt+king+v+ylromLim.Cillvent
so l+r +s to suggesttL+ttLereisnoessenti+ldinerence Letveen
Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, London, 1 9 3 3, p. 2 9 8.
According t o Wordsworth, the following stages are involved:
( 1 ) The origin of the process: emotion recollected in tranquillity.
(2) Contemplation of this recollection continued until, 'by a species of
reaction', the tranquillity gradually disappears and is replaced by
( 3) an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contem­
plation.
( 4) Composition may then occur inducing
(5) a state of enj oyment whatever the nature of the emotion that is being
experienced by the poet.
I NTR O D U CT I ON
tLe +rtist +nd tLe +rtis+n-Letveen, sL+ll ve s+y, :L+kespe+re
+ndtLec+rpentervLo m+deLis secondLest Led.AndLec+me
to tLeconclusiot. tL+ttLerem+ynotL+veLeenmucLdiEerence
intLequ+lityoltLeirskill.tLec+rpentryoltLepl+ysisnot+Love
criticism, +ndtLesecond-LestLedv+svell enougL m+de toLe
speciled in tLe poet' sl+st vill +nd test+ment. VL+t, tLen, did
:L+kespe+repossesstL+tv+sdeniedtotLisc+rpenter?
TLereis no mystery +Lout it. itv+s tLe c+p+city to vork in
psycLologic+l m+teri+l, tom+ke+vorkol+rtoutolmoretL+n
vords. out olLum+n desires +nd emotion, le+rs +nd l+nt+sies.
AndtL+tisvLeretLepeculi+rity+ndvL+tverecognize+s tLe
' gre+tness oltLe +rtist comes in. lor tLese m+teri+ls c+nnotLe
vorkedsuperlci+lly, ontLe surl+ce.TLe+rtistmustLere+dy to
delveLelovtLelevelolnorm+lconsciousness, tLecrustolcon
vention+ltLougLt+ndLeL+viour,intoLisovnunconscious,+nd
intotLecollectiveunconsciousolLis group orr+ce.lt is +p+in
lulexperience. cre+tivevorkontLislevelisonlydone+t+ cost
olment+l +nguisL. TLis isvLere VordsvortL' s perception ol
tLere+litiesolpoeticcompositionLecomesso+cute,lortLereis
no douLt tL+t tLe poet' s cre+tion, Lis symp+tLetic penetr+tion
intotLetr+gicsignilc+nceollile, Loveverp+inlul,' isproduced
+ndc+rriedonLy suLtlecomLin+tionsvitLple+sure' . TLe+rtist
is+lv+yssometLingol+m+socList.
He is +lso +n esc+pist. VordsvortL does not delnevL+tLe
me+nsLytr+nquillity,LutLisme+ningisoLviousenougLilve
rememLerLis soci+lLeL+viour+nd Lis pr+cticeincomposition,
+sdescriLedLyLissisterDorotLy+ndotLervitnesses.Tr+nquil
lity, lor VordsvortL, me+nt liter+lly + ßigLt lrom society, +nd
tLe +ctu+l moment ol composition me+nt + ßigLt lrom even
tLose memLers ol Lis LouseLold vitL vLom Le L+Litu+lly
dvelt.
VordsvortL s preceptL+s Leenpoverlullyreinlorcedne+rer
ourtimeLyRilke,intLoseLetters to a Young Poet vLicL+resolullol
proloundvisdom.' l c+ngiveyounootLer+dvice, ' s+idRilketo
7
8 I NT R OD U CT I ON
Liscorresponoent, ' tL+ntLis.retireintoyoursell+noproLetLe
oeptLs lrom vLicL your lile springs up . . . . lor tLe cre+tive
+rtistmustLe+vorlountoLimsell+nofnoeverytLing inLim
sell+no in N+ture, olvLicL Le is p+rt +no p+rcel. ' Ano +g+in.
' Loveyourloneliness,+noendure the pain vLicLitc+usesyouwith
harmonious lamentations (schoenklingender Kuge) . ' TLe voro Einsamkeit
¸loneliness, solit+riness, tr+nquillity) recurs like + relr+in
tLrougL+ll tLeseletters, +noinoeeotLrougL+llRilke' s vork. lt
villLerememLereotL+tMilton+lsospokemovinglyol' +c+lm
+nople+sing solit+riness' .
Rilke, itmigLtLeoLjecteo,v+svriting in l 90 ? , vLensoli-
t+rinesscouloLe louno, ilnot e+sily, +t le+st possiLly. luttL+t
+rtifci+l isol+tion, vLicL l L+ve c+lleo lortress-solituoe, is not
tLes+metLing+sRilke'sEinsamkeit orVorosvortL' str+nquillity
or Milton' s solit+riness. lt is not, in Rilke' s pLr+se, Louno to
N+ture-LyvLicLLeme+ns+n+tur+ìv+yol living.lnsucLl+st
seclusion tLe poet c+nnot Le, in VorosvortL's pLr+se, '+ m+n
spe+king to men' . lt m+y seem unre+son+Lle to non-poetic
people, Lut vL+t tLe poet nevertLeless oem+nos is + kino ol
society in vLicL tr+nquillity, vitLor+v+l, is+ n+tur+l rigLt. He
must Le +Lle to go into tLe press +no out olit +s e+sily +s Le
p+sseslromLisovn LouseintotLestreet.TLe cL+rgeLem+kes
+g+inst tLe mooern vorlo is tL+t it L+s inv+oeo Lis Louse ol
quiet, inv+oeoitvitL c+res +no rumours, insistentpolitics +no
tot+lit+ri+nv+rs.
TLe poet is tLerelore compelleo to oem+no, for poetic reasons,
tL+t tLe vorlo sL+ll Le cL+ngeo. lt c+nnot Le s+io tL+t Lis
oem+noisunre+son+Lle. itistLefrstconoitionolLisexistence
+s+poet.
TLecL+ngespromiseoLytLeexistingpolitic+lp+rtiesL+veno
+ppe+ltotLepoet.TLeyoonotgu+r+nteeLis solituoe. TLey +ll
imply + more ex+cting soci+l contr+ct, + more complete sur-
renoerolinoiviou+l liLerty. surrenoertotLe st+te, surrenoerto
tLecuriosityoltLe Press, surrenoer to m+ssopinions+no m+ss
I N T ROD U CT I ON
st+no+ros. ll poetry i s ever +g+in to Le more tL+n ' sell
expression' tLe oirection must Le reverseo-politic+l pover
must Le oistriLuteo +no Lroken oovn into Lum+n, t+ngiLle
units. LconomicresponsiLilitymustLe +ccepteoLy tLe vorker.
lin+nci+l pover oivorceo lrom proouction must Le +ltogetLer
excluoeolrom society. Proouctivel+LourmustLerecognizeo+s
tLe L+sic re+lity, +no Lonoureo +s sucL. TL+t is vLy tLe poet
mustLe+n+n+rcList.HeL+snootLercLoice.Hem+ytemporize
vitLliLer+lism,vitLoemocr+ticsoci+lism,vitLst+tesoci+lism,
+noinpe+celul times+nyoltLesepolitic+lsystemsm+yLeper-
su+oeo to p+tronize culture, incluoingpoetry. lut tLey c+nnot
gu+r+nteetLecre+tive+ctivityoltLepoet.TLeyc+nnot+omittLe
solituoeol+nyoltLeircitizens,lorsolituoeis+vitLor+v+llrom
tLe soci+lcontr+ct,+oeni+loltLeprincipleolcollectivism.ltis+
Litterlessontole+rn,lortLosepoetsvLoL+veputtLeirl+itLin
tLe nonpoetic propLets-in M+rx, in Lenin, in :t+lin. Poets
sLoulonotgooutsioetLeirovnr+nkslor+policy, lorpoetryis
itsovnpolitics.
:Lelleyc+lleopoets tLeunacknowledged legisl+tors oltLevorlo,
+no tLe epitLet v+s vell cLosen. TLe c+t+lyst is uncL+ngeo,
un+LsorLeo, its+ctivitytLerelorenot+cknovleogeo.ltispecu-
li+rlyoißcultlorthe+rtistinsocietyto+ccepttListL+nklesst+sk.
to st+no+p+rt, +no yet to meoi+te. to communic+te to society
sometLing+sessenti+ì+sLre+oorv+ter,+noyettoLe+Lletooo
soonlylrom+positionolinsul+tion,olois+Eection.:ocietyvill
neverunoerst+noorlovetLe+rtist,Lec+useitvillnever+ppreci-
+teLisinoiEerence,Lis so-c+lleo oLjectivity.luttLe +rtistmust
le+rntolove+nounoerst+notLesocietytL+trenouncesLim. He
must +ccept tLe contr+ry experience, +no orink, vitL :ocr+tes,
tLeoe+olycup.
9
2
TO H E L L WITH CULTURE
When will revolutionary leaders realize that 'culture' is dope, a
worse dope than religion; for even if it were true that religion
is the opiate of the people, it is worse to poison yourself than
to be poisoned, and suicide is more dishonourable than mur­
der. To hell with culture, culture as a thing added like a sauce
to otherwise unpalatable stale fsh!
Eri c Gill
TLecultureoCreeks,itseems,L+onovorolorculture.TLeyL+o
gooo +rcLitects, gooo sculptors, gooo poets, |ust +s tLey L+o
gooo cr+ltsmen +no gooo st+tesmen.TLeyknev tL+ttLeirv+y
ollilev+s +gooov+yollile, +no tLeyverevillingilnecess+ry
to fgLtto oeleno it. lutitvoulonever L+ve occurreoto tLem
tL+ttLeyL+o + sep+r+te commooity, culture-sometLing to Le
given + tr+oem+rk Ly tLeir +c+oemici+ns, sometLing to Le
+cquireo Ly superior people vitL sumcient time +no money,
sometLing to Le exporteo to loreign countries +long vitL fgs
+no olives. ltv+sn' t even +n invisiLle export. itv+s sometLing
n+tur+l il it existeo +t +ll-sometLing ol vLicL tLey vere
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 1 1
un
conscious, sometLing +s instinctive +s tLeir l+ngu+ge or t
¡
e
complexion oltLeir skins. lt coulo not even Le oescriLeo +s +
lyproouctoltLeirv+yollile. itv+stL+tv+yollileitsell
lt v+s tLe Rom+ns, tLe frstl+rgesc+le c+pit+lists in Lurope,
wLoturneocultureinto+commooity.TLeyLeg+nLyimporting
culture-Creek culture-+no tLen tLey grev+ut+rkic+nopro
ouceo tLeir ovn Lr+no. As tLey extenoeo tLeir empire, tLey
oumpeo tLeir culture on tLe conquereo n+tions. Rom+n +rcLi
tecture,Rom+nliter+ture,Rom+nm+nners-tLeseset+st+noaro
tovLicL+lìnevìyciviìizeopeople+spireo.VLen+Rom+npoet
ìikeOviot+lks+Lout+cultureom+n,tLereis+lre+oytLesenseol
sometLing polisLeo, refneo, + veneer on tLe surl+ce ol +n
otLervise rougL Lum+nity. lt voulo not L+ve occurreo to +
refneoRom+noltLissorttL+ttLecr+ltsmenolListimeL+o+ny
contriLutiontom+ke totLefner v+lues ollile. NorL+otLey-
Rom+npottery,lor ex+mple,m+yLecultureo,Lutit isoull +no
oegr+oeo.
Culture, ve +re tolo, vent unoergrouno in tLe D+rk Ages,
+noitv+s+longtimeLelore itc+meto tLesurl+ce +g+in. TLe
next epocL, knovn +s tLe Mioole Ages, is riv+lleo only Ly tLe
CreekAge, Lut, oooly enougL, it too v+s not conscious olits
culture. lts +rcLitectsvereloremen Luiloers, its sculptorsvere
m+sons, its illumin+tors +no p+inters vere clerks. TLey L+o no
vorolor +rtintLe sense olour 'fne +rts' . +rt v+s +ll tL+tv+s
ple+sing to tLe sigLt. + c+tLeor+l, + c+nolestick, + cLessm+n, +
cLeesepress.
luttLeMiooleAgesc+meto+neno,+novitLtLemtLeguilo
system +no tLe m+kingoltLingslor use.Cert+inclever people
Leg+n to gr+L tLings-cLurcL property, common l+no, min
er+ls, especi+lly golo. TLey Leg+n to m+ke tLings in oroer to
+cquire more tL+n tLey coulo use, + surplus vLicL tLey coulo
convertinto golo, +no Lec+use tLey coulon` te+t golo, or Luilo
LousesvitLit, tLeylentitto otLerpeoplevLovereinneeool
it +no cL+rgeo tLem rent or interest. Ano tLus tLe c+pit+list
1 2 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
system c+me into existence, +no vitL it tLe tLing ve c+ll
' culture' .
TLe frst recoroeo use ol tLe voro in its mooern sense is
l S l0,justvLenc+pit+lismLeg+nto getgoingltistLetimeol
tLe Reviv+l ol Le+rning +no tLe Ren+iss+nce, +no tLose tvo
movements signily tLe very essence olculture lor +ll eouc+teo
people,evenuntotLepresento+y.lutitv+snotuntiltLeLegin
ning ol tLe nineteentL century, tLe perioo ol tLe lnoustri+l
Revolution, tL+tcultureLec+mefn+llyoivorceolrom vork. :o
long +speoplem+oetLingsLyL+no,cert+intr+oition+lv+ysol
m+kingtLempersisteo,+noveregooo.ltv+sonlyvLentLings
Leg+ntoLem+oeLym+cLinestL+ttLetr+oitionsinLerent,+sit
vere, in tLe minos +no muscles ol tLe L+novorker, fn+lly
ois+ppe+reo.
To t+ketLepl+ceoltLisinstinctivetr+oition,tLeinoustri+lists
introouceocert+innev st+no+ros.TLeymigLtLemerelyst+no
+ros olutility +no cLe+pness-tL+t is to s+y, olproft+Lleness,
Lut since sensitive people vere not s+tisfeo vitL tLese, tLe
m+nul+cturers Leg+n to look L+ck into tLe p+st, to collect +no
imit+tetLegoootLingsvLicLL+oLeenm+oeLytLeir+ncestors.
llyouknev+ll+LouttLetLingsoltLep+st,youvererecognizeo
+s + m+n olt+ste, +no tLe sum oltLe n+tion' s ' t+stes' v+s its
' culture' . M+ttLev Arnolo, in l+ct, oefneo culture +s ' tLe
+cqu+inting ourselves vitLtLe Lest tL+tL+s Leen knovn +no
s+iointLevorlo' . AnovitLM+ttLevArnolo,tLePrinceConsort
+notLeCre+tLxLiLition,vere+cLtLepe+kpointoltLeLnglisL
cult olculture. Alter tLe ' sixties its sell-consciousness Lec+me
too oLvious, +no ve entereo + perioo ol oec+oence-Pre
R+pL+elitism, tLe Yellov look, Osc+r Viloe, +no AuLrey
le+rosley-untiltLelirstVorloV+r c+me+nog+ve+fn+lpusL
totLevLolerottenl+Lric.
lor tLel+stqu+rter ol+ centuryve L+ve Leentryingto pick
up tLe pieces. ve L+ve L+olectures +no exLiLitions, museums
+no+rt g+lleries, +oulteouc+tion+nocLe+pLooks, +noeven +n
TO H E L L WI T H C U LT U R E 1 3
ln
tern+tion+l Committee lor lntellectu+l Co-oper+tion spon
soreo Ly tLe Le+gue olN+tions lut it v+s +ll + Le+ting on +
Lollovorum,+noitrequireo+:econoVorloV+rtoLringusup
En+lly+g+insttLere+litiesoltLisquestion+solsom+nyotLers.
Aoemocr+ticculture-tLatis not tL:same thing as a democracy plus
culture. TLe frst import+ntpoint tL+t l must m+ke, +no keep on
stressing, istL+tculturein+n+tur+lsocietyvillnotLe+sep+r+te
+no oistinguisL+Lle tLing-+ Looy olle+rning tL+t c+n Le put
into Looks +no museums +no muggeo up in your sp+re time.
]ust Lec+use it vill not exist +s + sep+r+te entity, itvoulo Le
Letter to stop using tLevoro ' culture' . Ve sL+llnotneeo it in
tLe luture +no it vill only conluse tLe present issue. Culture
Lelongs to tLe p+st. tLe luture vill not Le conscious ol its
culture.
TLe v+lues vLicL l +m concerneo vitL in tLis ess+y-v+lues
vLicL ve c+ll 'tLe Le+utilul'-vere not inventeo in +ncient
AtLens or +nyvLere else. TLey +re p+rt oltLe structure oltLe
universe+noolourconscioµsnessoltL+tstructure.To+rguetLis
point lully voulo c+rry us too l+r into tLe oLscure regions ol
pLilosopLy, +no l L+ve vritten enougL +Lout it in my more
tecLnic+lLooks. lutvL+tlme+n, insimplel+ngu+ge,istL+tve
sLoulo not Le ple+seovitL tLe v+y cert+in tLings look unless
our pLysic+l org+ns +notLe sensesvLicLcontroltLemvere so
constituteo +s to Le ple+seo vitL cert+in oefnite proportions,
rel+tions, rLytLms, L+rmonies, +no so on. VLen ve s+y, lor
ex+mple, tL+ttvo colours 'cl+sL' , ve +re notexpressing + per
son+l opinion. tLere is + oefnite scientifc re+son lor tLe ois
+gree+Lle impression tLey cre+te, +no it coulo no oouLt Le
expresseo in + m+tLem+tic+l lormul+. Ag+in, vLen + printer
oecioesto imposetLetypeon+p+geso +stole+vem+rginsol+
oefniteproportion,Leistrusting toLiseye, vLicLtellsLimLy
itsmuscul+rtensionstL+ttLis p+rticul+r +rr+ngementise+selul.
TLese+reveryelement+ryex+mples,+novLenl+rgep+intings
1 4 T O H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
or poems or music+l compositions +re in question, tLe vLole
Lusiness is inEnitely more complic+teo. lut, in gener+l, ve see
tL+tcert+inproportionsinn+ture(incryst+ls,pl+nts,tLeLum+n
fgure,etc.) +re 'rigLt , +novec+rryovertLeseproportionsinto
tLetLingsvem+ke-notoeliLer+tely,Lutinstinctively.
lor our presentpurposes tL+t is +ll ve neeo to knov oltLe
scienceol+estLetics.TLereis+noroerinN+ture+notLeoroerol
:ocietysLouloLe+reßectionolit,notonlyinourv+yol living,
Lut +lso in our v+y ol ooing +no m+king. ll ve lollov tLis
n+tur+loroerin+lltLev+ysolourlile, vesL+llnotneeotot+lk
+Loutculture.Ve sL+llL+veitvitLoutLeing consciousolit.
lutLov+reve to +tt+intLen+tur+l oroerolm+king tLings,
vLicLismyp+rticul+rconcernintLisess+y?
OLviously, ve c+n`tm+ketLingsn+tur+lly in unn+tur+l sur
rounoings. Ve c+nt oo tLings properly unless ve +re properly
leo +no properly Louseo. Ve must +lso Le properly equippeo
vitLtLe necess+rytools, +no tLenlelt +lone to getonvitLtLe
joL.
lnotLervoros,Lelorevec+nm+ketLingsn+tur+lly,vemust
est+LlisLtLen+tur+loroerinsociety,vLicLlormypresentpur
poses J +ssume is vL+t ve +ll me+n Ly + oemocr+cy. lut it is
useless to t+lk+Lout + oemocr+tic +rtor + oemocr+ticliter+ture
untilve +reinl+ct+oemocr+cy.
:eventyye+rs+goV+ltVLitm+nvroteinLisDemocratic Vistas:
'We have frequentl y pri nted the word Democracy. Yet I can­
not too ofen repeat that it i s a word the real gi st of whi ch sti l l
sl eeps, quite unawakened, notwithstandi ng the resonance and
the many angry tempests out of whi ch its syl l abl es have come,
from pen and tongue. I t i s a great word, whose hi story, I sup­
pose, remai ns unwritten, because that hi story has yet to be
enacted. '
Democr+cyis still + gre+tvoro, +noi nspiteolm+nyvoroy
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 1 5
propLets vLo L+ve useo it since VLitm+n s time, its gist still
sìeeps, its Listory is still unen+cteo. NotLing is more +Lsuro,
+mong +ll tLe politic+l +Lsuroities committeo Ly l+scists +no
N+zis, tL+ntLeir+ssumptiontL+toemocr+cyis+systemtL+tL+s
Leentrieo+noL+sl+ileoDemocr+cyL+sLeenpromulg+teo+no
its principles enolessly procl+imeo, Lut in no country in tLe
vorloL+s it ever, lormore tL+n + Lrielsp+ce ol+ lev montLs,
Leenputintopr+ctice.lor oemocr+cy requires tLreeconoitions
lor its lulflment, +no until al tLree conoitions +re s+tisEeo, it
c+nnotLes+ioto exist.ltisonlynecess+rytost+tetLeseconoi-
tions to sLov tL+t oemocr+cy never L+s existeo in mooern
times.
TLeErstconoitionoloemocr+cyistL+tall production should be for
use, and not for proft.
TLeseconoconoitionistL+teach should give according to his ability
and each receive according to his needs.
TLe tLiro conoition is tL+t the workers in each industry should
collectively own and control that industry.
lt is not my Lusiness in tLis p+rticul+r ess+y to oeleno tLe
conception ol oemocr+cy unoerlying tLese conoitions. Never
tLeless lvoulo cl+im tL+titistLe cl+ssic+l conception oloem-
ocr+cy +s gr+ou+lly evolveo Ly its pLilosopLers-Ly Rousse+u,
]eEerson, Lincoln, ProuoLon, Oven, Ruskin, M+rx, Morris,
lropotkin,+novLoeverelsev+soemocr+ticinLisLe+rtnoless
tL+n inLisLe+o.VL+tlintenoto oemonstr+teLereistL+ttLe
LigLerv+luesollile, tLeoemocr+ticequiv+lentoltLeciviliz+tion
olCreece or oltLe Mioole Ages, c+nnot Le+cLieveo unless Ly
oemocr+cy ve me+n + lorm olsocietyinvLicL +ll tLese tLree
conoitions+res+tisfeo.
ltLinkitvill Le gener+lly +omitteotL+tproouctionlor use
+nonot lor proft is tLe L+sic economic ooctrine olsoci+lism.
TLe opponents ol soci+lism migLt +rgue tL+t only + lun+tic
vouloneglecttot+keintoconsioer+tiontLeneeosoltLepuLlic.
luttL+tis to miss tLe vLolepoint oltLe st+tement. C+pit+lists
1 6 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
oo,olcourse,proouceloruse,+noeveninventuseslorvLicLto
proouce-intLeirovnl+ngu+ge,tLey cre+te+oem+no.lytLeir
intensivemetLoosolproouction+notLeirextensivemetLoosol
puLlicitytLey L+ve keyeo up tLe m+cLinery olproouction to
unim+gineo levels, +no up to + point m+nkino L+s LeneEteo
lrom tLe resulting pletLor+. Unlortun+tely c+pit+lism L+s not
Leen+LletosolvetLeproLlemolsupplyingtLe consumervitL
sumcient purcL+sing pover to +LsorL tLis pletLor+. it coulo
only invent v+rious metLoos olrestricting proouction so +s to
prevent+pletLor+.
C+pit+lismc+nprooucetLegooos,evenilitc+nnotselltLem.
lutvL+tkinoolgooos? ltisLeretL+tveL+vetointroouceour
+estLeticcriterion. Let usErst note tL+t tLequ+lityoltLe gooos
sol+visLlyproouceounoerc+pit+lismv+riesenormously.VL+t-
everyout+ke-c+rpetsorcL+irs, LousesorclotLes, cig+rettes or
s+us+ges,youvillEnotL+ttLere+renotoneLuttventyortLirty
gr+oes-sometLing very gooo +no emcient +t tLe top ol tLe
sc+le, +no sometLingverycLe+p+non+sty+ttLe LottomoltLe
sc+le. Ano pyr+miolike, tLe Lottom oltLe sc+le is enormously
LiggertL+ntLetop.
T+ke tLe c+se oltLe cL+iryou +re sitting on +syoure+otLis
Look. lt m+y Le one oltLree tLings. ( l ) + oecent vell-m+oe
cL+ir, inLeriteo lrom your gre+tgre+tgr+nomotLer, (!) +
oecentvellm+oecL+irvLicLyouLougLt+t+nexpensivesLop,
or ¸3) +ninoinerent,uncomlort+Lle cL+ir, sL+LLy +lter+ ye+r`s
use,vLicLv+stLeLestyoucoulo+noro. (TLere+re somesuL-
sioi+ryc+tegories-expensivecL+irstL+t+re+lsouncomlort+Lle,
lor ex+mple, +no mooer+tely comlort+Lle se+ts in puLlic
veLicles. )
ProouctionlorproEtme+nstL+t,+tvL+tevercosttotLecom-
lort, +ppe+r+nce +no our+Lility oltLecL+ir, tLe c+pit+list must
put cL+irs ontLe m+rket to suiteverykino olpurse. Ano since
tLe cL+irvill Le competing vitL otLer neeos-c+rpets, clocks
+nosevingm+cLines-itmustcost+slittle+spossiLleevenon
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 1 7
tLelovsc+leolpurcL+singpover+tvLicLLeis+iming.Hence
tLe c+pit+list must progressively lover tLe qu+lity ol tLe
m+teri+ls Le is using. Le must use cLe+p vooo +no little olit,
cLe+p springs +no cLe+p upLolstery. He must evolve + oesign
tL+tis cLe+p to proouce+no e+sy to sell, vLicL me+ns tL+tLe
mustoisguiseLiscLe+pm+teri+lsvitLveneer +nov+rnisL +no
otLersL+ms.LvenilLeis+iming+ttLetopm+rket,LestillL+sto
rememLer Lis m+rgin olproEts, +no +s tLe size oltLe m+rket
sLrinks, +nom+ss proouction Lecomes lesspossiLle,tLism+rgin
L+s to Le incre+seo. 1L+t is to s+y, tLe oinerence Letveen tLe
intrinsicv+ìueoltLem+teri+lsuseo+notLepricecL+rgeototLe
consumer L+s to Le Ligger, +no tLe suLterluges necess+ry to
oisguisetLisoinerenceL+vetoLecleverer.
ltistLentLec+pit+listL+stoputon, +mongotLertLings, +Lit
olculture-+cl+v+noL+lllootintLem+nner olCLippeno+le,
+vrigglyLitolscrollvorkinp+pier-m1cLe,+ninl+yolmotLer-
olpe+rl.lnextremec+sesLemust'oistress' tLepiece-tL+tisto
s+y, employ + m+n to tLrov Lolts +no n+ils +t tLe cL+iruntil it
L+sLeenknockeo+LoutenougLtolook' +ntique`.
:ucLisproouctionlorproEt.lyproouctionloruseveme+n
+ system vLicL vill L+ve only tvo consioer+tions in mino-
lunction+nolulElment.Youv+nt+cL+irtorel+xin-veryvell,
vesL+lloiscovervL+t+retLeLest+nglesto+llov+m+n`slimLs
to restlreely +no vitLout str+in. Ve sL+llnext consioervLicL
vouloLe tLe most suit+Llem+teri+ls to useintLe m+nul+cture
olsucL+cL+ir, Le+ring inmino, notonlytLepurposetLecL+ir
L+s to serve, Lut +lso tLe otLer lurniturevitL vLicL tLe cL+ir
villLe+ssoci+teo.TLen,+notLenonly,vesL+lloesign+cL+irto
meet +ll tLese requirements. lin+lly ve sL+ll set +Lout m+king
tLecL+ir,+novLenitism+oetoours+tisl+ction,vesL+llonerit
to you in excL+nge lor tLe tokens vLicL represent tLe gooo
vork vLicL, +ll tLe timevevere m+kingtLe cL+ir, you vere
ooing lortLecommunity+tyourp+rticul+r¡oL.
TL+t is tLe economic process unoer soci+lism. lut l +m
W
1 8 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
supposeotoLevriting+Loutspiritu+lv+lues-+LoutLe+uty+no
+ll tL+t sort ol tLing, +no vLere oo tLey come in? Ve L+ve
proouceo + cL+ir vLicL is strong +no comlort+Lle, Lut is it +
vorkol+rt?
TLe +nsver, +ccoroing to mypLilosopLyol+rt, is Yes. ll+n
oLjectism+oeol+ppropri+tem+teri+lsto+n+ppropri+teoesign
+no perlectly lulfls its lunction, tLen ve neeo not vorry +ny
more +Lout its +estLetic v+lue. it is automatically + vork ol +rt.
litnesslorlunctionistLemooernoefnitionoltLeetern+lqu+l-
ityve c+ll Le+uty, +no tLis ftnesslorlunctionis tLe inevit+Lle
resultol+neconomyoirecteotouse+nonottoproft.
lncioent+lly,ve m+ynotetL+tvLentLeproftsystemL+sto
pl+celunctionLeloreproft,+sintLeproouctionol+n+eropl+ne
or+r+cingc+r, it+lsoinevit+Llyproouces+vorkol+rt.luttLe
question to +sk is. vLy +re not +ll tLe tLings proouceo unoer
c+pit+lism+sLe+utilul+sits+eropl+nes+nor+cingc+rs?
TLesecono conoitionoloemocr+cyisexpresseointLeM+rxi+n
slog+n. 'lrome+cL+ccoroingtoLis+Lility, to e+cL+ccoroingto
Lisneeos. '
TLisconoitionislinkeototLeoneveL+ve+lre+oyoiscusseo.
Tot+ketLequestionol+Lilityfrst.Aproftsystemolproouction
suLoroin+testLe personto tLe joL. ln+rougL+no-re+oyv+yit
sortspeopleout+ccoroingtotLeir+Lility. tL+tisto s+y, itcon
tinuestoemploy+m+nonlysolong+sLeisc+p+LleolooingtLe
j oLemciently,+noonlyso long +stLereis+j oL to oo.ltr+rely
+sks vLetLer + p+rticul+r m+n voulo Le Letter +t +notLer j oL,
+no it gives tL+t m+n little or no opportunity ol fnoing out
vLetLerLecoulooo+notLerjoLLetter.C+pit+lismisconcerneo
vitLl+Lour only +s+poverelement, tLe p+rtnerolste+m +no
electricity. Ano since tLe cost oltLispover L+s to Lereckoneo
+g+inst tLe possiLle profts, c+pit+lism ooes +ll itc+n to reouce
tL+tcost.
Onev+yolreoucing tLe cost is to incre+se tLe qu+ntity ol
TO H E L L WI T H C U LT U R E 1 9
work per Lum+n unit. C+pit+lism ¸+no st+te soci+lism as
est+LlisLeoinRussi+)introoucestLetimeelementintotLec+lcu
l+tion ol results. TLe Lest riveter is tLe m+n vLo c+n fx tLe
gre+test numLer olrivets in+ given time. TLe Lest mineris tLe
m+n vLo c+n oig out tLe gre+test qu+ntity olco+l in + given
time.TListimecriterionisextenoeoto +lllormsolproouction,
+noitis +lv+ys +tv+rvitL tLe criterion olqu+lity. VLen tLe
vork ispurely mecL+nic+l, tLe qu+lit+tive element m+y not Le
compromiseo.Aquickriveterm+y+lsoLe+goooriveter. lµtil
tLevorkrequires+nyconsioer+Lleoegreeolskill,c+reoroeliL
er+tion,tLentLequ+lityvilloeclineininverser+tiototLespeeo
olproouction. TLis +pplies, not only to ' +rtistic' vork sucL +s
p+inting +no sculpture, Lut +ìso to 'pr+ctic+l' vork sucL +s
grinoingtLecylinoersol+n+eroengineorplougLing+felo.
lrome+cL+ccoroingtoLis+Lilityc+nLerepl+ceoLy+notLer
l+mili+rpLr+se-equ+lityolopportunity. ln+ n+tur+l society it
sLouloLepossiLlelorpeopletosorttLemselvesoutsotL+tevery
m+n +no vom+n is ooing tLe joL lor vLicL Le or sLe leels
n+tur+lly qu+lifeo, +no il, in tLis respect, n+ture neeos + little
+ssist+nce, it c+n LeprovioeoLy scLools +no tecLnic+l colleges
vLicLvillen+LleyoungpeopletooiscovertLemselves+notLeir
+Lilities.
TL+tL+lloltLeslog+nooesnotpresentmucLoimculty. itis
oLviously re+son+Lle tL+ttLe rigLt m+n sLouloL+ve tLe rigLt
j oL, +notL+tLesLouloootL+tj oLto tLeLestolLis+Lility.lut
tLen ve s+y. ' to e+cL +ccoroing to Lis neeos` , +no tLis is tLe
moreimport+ntL+ll, +notLeessenti+llyoemocr+ticL+ll, oltLe
soci+listooctrine.
Let us +sk. vL+t +re tLe neeos ole+cL one olus? :umcient
looo +no clotLing, +oequ+te Lousing-+ cert+in minimum ol
tLesenecessitiessLouloLetLe in+lien+LlerigLtolevery mem
Ler ol tLe community. Until it c+n provioe tLese minimum
necessities, + society must Le Lr+noeo +s inLum+n +no
inemcient.
20 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
AnotL+tisperL+ps+lltL+tc+rIysoci+listslikeM+rx+noLngels
me+nt Ly tLe pLr+se ' to e+ch ccoroing to Lis neeos` . lut tLe
unoerlying +ssumption ol tLIs ess+y is tL+t in +ny civiliz+tion
vortLliving in, tLe neeos oIn+n+re notmerelym+teri+l. He
Lungers lor otLer tLings-lor Ie+uty, lor comp+nionsLip, lor
j oy. TLese,too, +n+tur+lsocict mustprovioe.
Ve L+ve+lre+oyseentL+tbyest+LlisLing+systemolproouc-
tionloruseve sL+llinevit+LIy ecuretLe frstoltLesespiritu+l
neeos-Le+uty. To see Lov tLe otLer spiritu+l v+lues vill Le
secureo ve must turn to tLe tLiro conoition oloemocr+cy-
vorkers`ovnersLipolinoustry
TLis is + controversi+l issue, cven vitLin tLe oemocr+tic r+nks.
:incetL+tl+t+l o+yin l 8 / !vLenM+rxscuttleotLelirstlnter
n+tion+l, tLe soci+list movcnent L+s Leen split into tvo
irreconcil+Llec+mps.TLelund+ent+ln+tureoltLeoivisionL+s
Leen Liooen Ly + conlusion cl n+mes +no + multiplicity ol
le+gues, +lli+nces, leoer+tions no societies. lut tLe issue is
simply vLetLer inoustry is to e controlleo lrom tLe Lottom
upv+ros,LytLevorkers+notLeirelecteooeleg+tes,orvLetLer
itistoLecentr+lizeo+nocontro¡leolromtLetop,Ly+n+Lstr+c
tion ve c+ll tLe st+te, Lut vhicL in eEect me+ns + sm+ll +no
exclusivecl+ssolLure+ucr+ts.
TLeListoric+ll+cttL+t everyvLere in tLe nortL olLurope¬
Cerm+ny,:c+noin+vi+, lr+nceanoCre+tlrit+in-tLe+utLorit+r
i+n or Lure+ucr+tic conception ol soci+lism triumpLeo sLoulo
notLlinoustotLestilllivingissue.lortLis' conceptu+l'triumpL
someLov L+s not LrougLt vItL it vL+t ve me+n Ly + oem-
ocr+cy.lnoeeo,inmostoltLe cuntriesn+meoitLrougLt+Lout
j ust tLe opposite pLenomenon÷tLe +nti-oemocr+tic st+te ol
Hitler,Mussolini, :t+lin+nolranco.
Donotletus oeceive ourse¡ves in tLinking tL+t l+scism +ny
vLere intLevorlo is merelya tempor+rypL+seolre+ction+ry
ism. Re+ction+ry it is, in tLe depest sense oltLevoro, lor it
TO H E L L WI TH C U LT U R E 21
oenies tLe +ov+nce oltLe Lum+n spirit, +no it oEers sinister
+ccommoo+tions to tLe inoustri+l c+pit+lists vLo L+ve Leen
oemocr+cy' smostLitterenemies.lutinm+nyolitsle+turesitis
Lut + oevelopment or +o+pt+tion oltL+t +utLorit+ri+n lorm ol
soci+lismvLicLM+rxm+oetLepreoomin+ntlormolsoci+lism.
lt even cl+imeotLe n+me olsoci+lism in Cerm+ny, +no itv+s
somevL+tunlortun+tetL+ttLisl+ctv+soisguiseointLepopul+r
contr+ction. N+zi. Hitler' s Nev Oroer v+s soci+list in tL+t it
est+LlisLeo + centr+lizeo st+te control ol+llproouction. ltv+s
soci+list in tL+t it est+LlisLeo + system ol soci+l security¬
gu+r+nteeo empìoyment, l+ir r+tes olv+ges, org+nizeo +men-
ities olv+riouskinos. ltv+s soci+list intL+titsuLoroin+teotLe
En+nci+l system to tLe inoustri+l system. lnm+ny v+ys it v+s
prolesseoly soci+list, Lutitrem+ineoprolounolyunoemocr+tic.
lec+usevL+tever itg+vein tLe sL+pe olsoci+l security, ittook
+v+yinspiritu+lliLerty.
TLeN+zis vereverycultureconscious-+scultureconscious
+s M+ttLev Arnolo +no +ll our Victori+n lorel+tLers. lut tLe
more conscious tLey Lec+me olculture, tLe less c+p+Lle tLey
vere ol prooucing it. N+zi Cerm+ny, in tLe ten ye+rs ol its
suprem+cy +no intensive cultiv+tionoltLe +rts, v+snot+Lle to
proouce lor tLe +omir+tion oltLe vorlo + single +rtist ol+ny
kino. Most ol its gre+t vriters +no p+inters-TLom+s M+nn,
lr+nz Verlel, Osk+r KokoscLk+ +no m+ny otLers vere oriven
into exile. A lev gre+t +rtists vLo rem+ineo in Cerm+ny-tLe
composer :tr+uss, lor ex+mple-vere too olo to proouce +ny
nev vork ol signifc+nce, +no too inoiEerent to tLe politic+l
oroertov+nttoproouce+nytLing +t+ll.Alevvritersolinteg
rity +no genius rem+ineo inCerm+ny-l +m tLinking p+rticu
l+rlyolH+nsC+ross++noLrnstRoLertCurtius-LuttLeyliveoin
spiritu+l+gony.lortLisgener+limpotencetLeN+zile+oersm+y
L+ve oEereo tLe excuse olv+r +no revolution, Lut otLer v+rs
+no revolutions L+ve Leen +n immeoi+te inspir+tion to poets
+nop+inters. TLe gre+t Rom+ntic Movement in liter+ture, lor
22 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
ex+mple, v+s oirectly inspireo ly tLe lrencL Revolution, +no
+ll tLe storm +no stress ol tLe v+rs tL+t lolloveo coulo not
oiminisLitslorce
TLe position in lt+ly v+s ex+ctly tLe s+me, +no sLoveo in
+ooition tL+t tLe time l+ctor m+kes no oiEerenceTLe l+scists
vereinpoverlortventyye+rs, lutin+lltL+ttimenot+ single
vorkol+rtolunivers+lsigninc+ncec+melromtLeircountry-
notLing lutloml+st+novulg+rity.
TLereisonlyoneexpl+n+tionoltLisl+ilureoltLel+scist+no
N+ziRevolutions to inspire + gre+t +rt, +no l c+nnotoescrileit
letter tL+n in tLe voros ol Ciov+nni Centile, + liler+l pLilo-
sopLer vLo solo Limsellto tLe l+scist regime. :pe+king to +n
+uoience olte+cLers in Trieste sLortly +lter tL+t city L+o l+llen
intolt+li+nL+nos+ttLeenooltLelirstVorloV+rLeoecl+reo.
' Spiritual activity works only in the plenitude of freedom. ' lt v+s + fne
momentlortLe lt+li+npeople, +notLisv+s +Ene sentimentto
m+tcLtLeocc+sion.MoretL+ntventyye+rsp+sseo,+noCentile
serveo Mussolini +s Lis Minister olLouc+tion lor most oltL+t
time, +nooio+smucL+s+nyonetogivel+scism+oecentcover
ing olintellectu+l respect+lility. As LesurveyeotLetyr+nnyLe
L+oLelpeoto est+llisL+nos+v+ll+rounoLim + spiritu+lpov
ertyinkeepingvitL+neconomicpoverty,itispossilletL+ttLis
s+o +no oisillusioneo m+n repe+teo, in + vLisper vLicL v+s
only Le+ro in tLe secret recesses ol Lis ovn mino. :piritu+l
+ctivityvorksonlyintLeplenituoeollreeoom.
OnetLingmustle+omitteo. tLel+ckol+nyspiritu+l+ctivity
in Cerm+ny +no lt+ly v+s not oue to + l+ck ol omci+l en
cour+gement ln Cerm+ny tLere v+s + complex org+niz+tion,
tLeReicLskulturk+mmer,cL+rgeovitLtLespecifct+skolsuper
vising cultur+l +ctivities olevery kino, +no inlt+ly tLerev+s +
simil+r oispl+y olst+te p+tron+ge. Outsioe tLe l+scist countries
tLerev+s+p+r+llel+ctivityinRussi+, +nointLeU. :. A. tLerev+s
tLe leoer+lArts Proj ect.TLis l+tter org+niz+tionL+o + oiEerent
+im. to relieve oistress +mong +rtists r+tLer tL+n to encour+ge
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 23
tLe
proouctionol+n+tion+ltypeol+rt.lut+lllourtypesolst+te
p+tron+ge illustr+teo tLe s+me trutL-tL+t no +mount ols+uce
villoisguisetLest+lenessoltLeunoerlyingnsL.Youc+nnotluy
tLe spiritu+lv+luesvLicLm+ke tLe gre+tness ol+ n+tion' s +rt.
youc+nnotevencultiv+tetLemunlessyouprep+retLe soil.Ano
tL+t soil is lreeoom-not lreeoom vitL + c+pit+l l, not +n
+lstr+ctionol+nykino,lutsimply `letting+lone' .
' Letting +lone' i s nottLes+me+s 'laissez faire' . A personi s not
lelt+loneilLeL+s+cuplo+rolullolc+res.Hemustlelelt+lone
vitL sumcientlooo+nosLelter to s+legu+roLis Le+ltL, +noLe
mustlelelt+lonevitLsumcientm+teri+ltovorkvitL.AnotLer
lrencLpLr+se,Iacher prise, letterexpresses tLisioe+.
To keep + cl+ss olpeople in comlort +no tLen let tLem oo
vL+ttLeyple+seoEenostLesenseolsoci+lequity-everyoust
m+nmigLttLensetup+s+n+rtist.luttL+tisnotex+ctlyvL+tl
propose. l L+ve s+io. To Lell vitL culture, +no to tLis consign
mentvemigLt+oo+notLer.To LellvitLtLe+rtist.Art as a separate
profession is merely a consequence of culture as a separate entity. ln+n+tur+l
society tLere vill le no precious or privilegeo leings c+lleo
+rtists. tLerevillonlylevorkers.Or,ilyoupreler Cill' smore
p+r+ooxic+l st+tement ol tLe s+me trutL. in + n+tur+l society
tLere vill le no oespiseo +no unprivilegeo leings c+lleo
vorkers.tLerevillonlyle+rtists. 'TLe+rtistisnot+speci+lkino
olm+n, luteverym+nis+speci+lkinool+rtist. '
1
lut +mong vorkers tLere +re v+rious oegrees ol+lility. Ano
tLe people c+p+lle olrecognizing tLis +lility +re tLe vorkers
tLemselves in tLeir sever+l prolessions. lor ex+mple, +rcLitects
+no engineers vill knov vLicL lev inoiviou+ls +mong tLem
oesign so superl+tively vell tL+t tLey oeserve, lor tLe common
Gill took this paradox from the writings of another wise man, Dr. Ananda
Coomaraswamy, and Coomaraswamy m his turn seems to have taken it from
Sri Aurobindo; it sums up in one sentence the teachings of William Morris and
the practice of the medieval guild system.
24 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
gooo, to Le exempteo lrom routine t+sks +no encour+geo to
oevotetLeirenergiestotLosetypesolvorktL+t+renotsomucL
utilit+ri+n +s ' cre+tive` -tL+t is to s+y, expressive oltLeir ovn
inventiveintuitionsorperL+psolcollectiveneeos-neeosvLicL
+rein+rticul+teuntiltLe+rtistgivestLem+ctu+lity.
ltistLes+mevitLeveryotLertypeol+rtist-tLep+inter+no
tLe sculptor no less tL+n tLe +rcLitect +no tLe engineer. TLe
possiLle exception is tLe poet, tLe 'oivine liter+tus` to vLom
VLitm+n g+ve sucL + vit+l lunction in tLe oemocr+tic vist+.
TLereisnoL+sicprolessionvLicLst+nosintLes+merel+tionto
poetry +sLuiloing ooesto +rcLitecture.Vriting is, olcourse,+
prolession, +no in + oemocr+tic society it sLoulo L+ve its
+ppropri+teguiloorcollective-+sitL+sinRussi+too+y.Onceit
islreelromtLeriv+lries+nolog-rollingvLicL+ccomp+nyvrit-
ing lor proft (or vriting on tLe L+cks ol+overtisements, +s
CLesterton c+lleo j ourn+lism) , + Vriters' Cuilo migLt Le
entrusteovitLtLeeconomicorg+niz+tionoltLisp+rticul+rkino
ol vork, Lut genius vill olten eluoe its system+tic survey.
Ag+insttLis eventu+lity tLere c+nLeno soci+l s+legu+ro. TLere
+re cert+in types olgenius vLicL +re +lv+ys in +ov+nce oltLe
gener+l level ol sensiLilityeven tLe gener+l level olproles-
sion+l sensiLility. lntLep+stsucLmenL+ve Leenlrustr+teo or
L+veLeenst+rveo.ln+n+tur+lsocietytLey vill +tle+st+voiotLe
seconol+te.
Proouctionloruse,mutu+l +io, vorkers` control-tLese +re tLe
slog+ns oloemocr+cy, +no tLese +re tLe slog+ns ol+ cre+tive
civiliz+tion.TLereisnotLingmysteriousoroimcult+LoutsucL+
civiliz+tion,inoeeo,someoltLeprimitiveciviliz+tionsstillexist
inginremotecornersoltLevorlo,+nom+nyprimitiveciviliz+
tionsoltLep+st,incluoingtL+tolpreListoricm+n, oeservetoLe
c+lleocre+tive.VL+ttLeym+ke,ilitisonly+pl+iteoL+sketor+n
unp+inteo pot, tLeym+kevitLinstinctiverigLtness +no oirect
ness. lt is impossiLle to comp+re sucL primitive communities
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 25
vitLourovnLigLlyorg+nizeomooesol living, LuttLeirsoci
_
l
economyinits simplev+y+nsverstoourslog+ns.Proouctionis
loruse+nonotlorproft,+no+llvorkisoonevitLoutcompul
sionlortLe gener+l LeneftoltLe community. On tLeir simple
levelollivingtLereis+mplesoci+lsecurity,+nonom+nsellsLis
l+Lour to + mioolem+n or Loss. vork is eitLer inoiviou+l or
commun+l, +no in eitLer c+se it is lree lrom tLe oispiriting
inßuencesolsl+very+nom+numission.
lut our societies +re not primitive +no tLere is no neeo to
LecomeprimitiveinoroertosecuretLeessenti+lsoloemocr+tic
ìiLerty. Ve v+nt to ret+in +ll our scientifc +no inoustri+l
triumpLs-electricpover, m+cLine tools, m+ssproouction+no
tLe rest. Ve oo not propose to revert to tLe economy ol tLe
L+noloom+notLeplougL-ioe+l+stLism+yseeminretrospect.
Ve proposetL+ttLevorkers+notecLnici+nsvLoL+vemade tLe
mooerninstrumentsolproouctionsLoulocontrol tLem-control
tLeir use +no oetermine tLe ßov oltLeirproouction. lt c+nLe
oone. Russi+ L+s sLovn tL+t tLe essenti+l org+niz+tion c+n Le
cre+teo,+novesLoulonotLeLlinoeototLesignifc+nceoltL+t
gre+t +cLievementLytLeperversionitL+s suEereo+ttLeL+nos
olLure+ucr+ts.lor+Lrielspelloemocr+tic:p+insLoveoustL+t
vorkers' control coulo Le +n eßcient re+lity. Vorkers' control
c+nLeest+LlisLeoineverycountry,+notLereisnotmucLpoint
in oiscussing tLe fnerv+lues olciviliz+tionuntiltL+tessenti+l
cL+ngeL+sLeeneEecteo.
TLeluno+ment+l trutL +Lout economics istL+ttLemetLoos
+noinstrumentsolproouction, lreely useo +no l+irly useo, +re
c+p+Lle ol giving every Lum+n Leing + oecent st+no+ro ol
living. TLe l+ctors vLicL oLstruct tLe lree +no l+ir use oltLe
metLoos +no instruments olproouction +re tLe l+ctors vLicL
must ois+ppe+r Lelore + n+tur+l society c+n Le est+LlisLeo,
VL+tever tLese l+ctors +re-+n oLsolete fn+nci+l system, tLe
priv+te ovnersLip olproperty, rent +no usury-tLey +re +nti-
oemocr+tic l+ctors, +no prevent tLe est+LlisLment ol+ n+tur+l
26 TO H E L L W I TH C U LTU R E
society +no consequently prevent tLe est+LlisLment ol +
cre+tiveciviliz+tion.
Lconomics +re outsioe tLe scope oltLis ess+y, Lut l c+nnot
+voiotLem.UnlesstLepresenteconomicsystemis+LolisLeo,its
roots er+oic+teo +no +ll its intric+te Lr+ncLes loppeo, tLe frst
conoitionslor+oemocr+tic+ltern+tivetotLel+kecultureolour
presentciviliz+tion +re not s+tisEeo. lor tLis re+son one c+nnot
Le very speciEc +Lout tLe le+tures ol + oemocr+tic culture.
Lngineers +no oesigners c+n m+ke tLe vorking or+vings lor +
motorc+r,+no gr+nteotLerigLtkinoolm+cLinery,tLeyc+nLe
sure tL+t tLetypeolc+r tLeyL+ve oesigneo vill runvLenitis
completeo.luttLeyc+nnotpreoictvLeretL+tc+rvilltr+vel. A
oemocr+ticcultureistLej ourney+oemocr+ticsocietyvillm+ke
vLen once it L+s Leen est+LlisLeo. llitis vell m+oe ve knov
tL+touroemocr+ticsocietyvilltr+vell+r. AnovitLtLem+nlor
vLomitv+sm+oe+ttLevLeel,vec+nLesuretL+titvilltr+vel
in tLerigLtoirecton,oiscoveringnevcountries,nevprospects,
nevclim+tes.Ve L+ve +lre+oyt+kenLrielglimpsesoovntLese
oemocr+ticvist+s,letusnovt+ke+L+ckv+rogl+nce+ttLeoump
veproposetole+ve LeLinous.
lvrite,not+s+pLilistine,Lut+s +m+nvLocoulonotonly
cl+imtoLecultureointLe+ccepteosense oltLevoro, LutvLo
L+s +ctu+lly oevoteo most olLis lile to cultur+l tLings-to tLe
pr+cticeoltLe +rtsoltLepresent +notLe elucio+tion oltLe+rts
oltLe p+st. MypLilosopLy is + oirect proouct olmy +estLetic
experience,+nolLelievetL+tlilevitLout+rtvouloLe+ gr+ce
less+noLrutisLexistence. l coulonotlivevitLouttLespiritu+l
v+lues ol+rt. l knov tL+t some people +re insensitive to tLese
v+lues, Lut Lelore +lloving mysell to pity or oespise sucL
people, l try to im+gine Lov tLey got tLemselves into sucL +
poor st+teolmino.TLemorel consioersucLpeople,tLemore
cle+rly l Legin to perceive tL+t tLougLtLerem+yLe+ minority
vLo L+ve Leen Lopelessly Lrut+lizeo Ly tLeir environment
+no upLringing, tLe gre+t m+jority +re not insensitive, Lut
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 27
in
oinerent. TLey L+ve sensiLility, Lut tLe tLing ve c+ll culture
does not stir tLem. ArcLitecture +no sculpture, p+inting +no
poetry, +re not tLe immeoi+te concerns ol tLeir lives. TLey
+re therelore not sensiLly moveo Ly tLe L+roque rLetoric ol
:t P+ul' s, or tLe p+inteoceilingoltLe:istineCL+pel, or+nyol
tLeminormonumentsolourculture.lltLeygointo+museum
or+rtg+llery,tLeymove+LoutvitLoe+oeyes.tLeyL+vestr+yeo
+mong people vLo oo not spe+k tLeir l+ngu+ge, vitL vLom
tLeyc+nnotLy+nyme+nscommunic+te.
Nov tLe common +ssumption is tL+t tLis str+yeo riveter, +s
vem+y c+ll Lim, sLoulo set+Loutit+nole+rn tLe l+ngu+ge ol
tLis str+nge country-tL+t Le sLoulo +tteno museum lectures
+no+oulteouc+tioncl+ssesintLelittlesp+retimeLeL+s, +noso
gr+ou+lly lilt Limsell on to tLe cultureo level. Our vLole
eouc+tion+l system is Luilt on tL+t +ssumption, +no very lev
oemocr+tsvouloLelouno to questionit. Anoyet + moment' s
consioer+tionsLouloconvinceustL+t+neouc+tion+lsystemtL+t
is Luilt on sucL +n +ssumption is luno+ment+lly vrong, +no
luno+ment+lly unoemocr+tic. Our riveter L+s proL+Lly str+yeo
lrom + cLeerless street in lirmingL+m, vLere Le inL+Lits +
me+nlittleLouselurnisLeovitLsucLsLoooycomlorts+sLeL+s
Leen+Lleto+norooutolLisin+oequ+tev+ge.lneeonotpursue
tLem+n' slile in+ll its ore+ry oet+il. tLere Le st+nos, typic+l ol
millions ol vorkers in tLis country, Lis clumsy Loots on tLe
p+rquetßoor,+noyou+re+skingLimto+ppreci+te+p+intingLy
lotticellior+LustLylernini,+:p+nisLtextileor+Enepieceol
Limogesen+mel.llorinkistLesLortestro+ooutolM+ncLester,
there is + possiLility tL+t +rt m+y Le tLe sLortest ro+o out ol
lirmingL+m,LutitvillnotLe+crovoeoro+o, +noonly+very
ooo +no eccentric vorker vill Le louno to respono to tLe
+estLetictLrillstL+trunoovn+cultureospine.
TLere+recultureopeoplevLo,re+lizingtLisl+ct,+reLonest
enougLto +L+noontLeiroemocr+ticpretensions-tLey put up
+nimpenetr+LleL+rrierLetveentLepeople+no+rt,LetveentLe
28 TO H E L L WI T H CU LTU R E
vorker+no' culture`.ltismucLLetter, tLeys+y, ' tL+tciviliz+tion
sLoulo Le ret+ineo in tLe L+nos oltLose persons to vLom it
prolession+lly Lelongs.UntiltLey+reeouc+teo,+nounless tLey
+re, it vill Le one vorker in + million vLo v+nts to re+o +
mooern poem.' ´
SucLpeople +re rigLt, +no sucL people +re vrong. TLey +re
rigLtto +ssume tL+t+nimpenetr+LleL+rrier exists Letveentheir
culture +no tLe vorker. tLey +re vrong to im+gine tL+t tLe
vorkerL+snocultur+lsensiLility.TLevorkerL+s+smucLl+tent
sensiLility+s+nyLum+nLeing, LuttL+t sensiLility c+n only Le
+v+keneovLenme+ningisrestoreotoLiso+ilyvork+noLeis
+lloveotocre+teLisovnculture.
Donotlet us Le oeceiveo LytLe+rgumenttL+t culture istLe
s+me lor +ll time-tL+t +rt is + unity +no Le+uty +n +Lsolute
v+lue. llve +re going to t+lk +Lout +Lstr+ct conceptions like
Le+uty, tLenve c+nlreelygr+nttL+ttLey+re+Lsolute+noeter
n+l. lut +Lstr+ct conceptions +renotvorksol+rt. Vorks ol+rt
+retLingsoluse-Louses+notLeirlurniture, lorex+mple,+no
il, like sculpture +no poetry, tLey +re not tLings olimmeoi+te
use, tLen tLey sLoulo Le tLings conson+nt vitL tLe tLings ve
use-tL+t is to s+y, p+rt ol our o+ily lile, tuneo to our o+ily
L+Lits, +ccessiLleto ouro+ilyneeos. ltisnotuntil+rt expresses
tLe immeoi+te Lopes +no +spir+tions ol Lum+nity tL+t it
+cquiresitssoci+lrelev+nce.
AcultureLeginsvitLsimpletLings-vitLtLev+ytLepotter
moulos tLe cl+y on Lis vLeel, tLe v+y + ve+ver tLre+os Lis
y+rns, tLe v+y tLe Luiloer Luilos Lis Louse. Creek culture oio
notLeginvitLtLeP+rtLenon.itLeg+nvitL+vLitev+sLeoLut
on+Lillsioe. Culture L+s +lv+ysoevelopeo+s+n inEnitelyslov
Lut sure reEnement +no el+Lor+tion ol simple tLings¬
relnement +no el+Lor+tion ol speecL, reEnement +no el+Lor
+tionolsL+pes,reEnement+noel+Lor+tionolproportions,vitL
Sacheverell Sitwel l , Sacred and Profane Love, p. 88.
TO H E L L WI TH C U LTU R E
tLe origin+l purity persistµg rigLt tLrougL. A oemocr+tic
culture vill Legin in + similar v+y. Ve sL+ll not revert to tLe
pe+s+nt' s Lut or tLe potter' s vLeel. Ve sL+ll Legin vitL tLe
elements ol mooern inoustry-electric pover, met+l +lloys¸
cement, tLe tr+ctor +no tLe +eropl+ne. Ve sL+ll consioer tLese
tLings+stLer+vm+teri+lsol+civiliz+tion+novesL+llvorkout
tLeir +ppropri+te use +no +ppropri+te lorms, vitLout relerence
to tLel+tL+nopl+steroltLep+st.
Too+yve+reLounoL+no+noloottotLep+st.lec+useprop-
ertyis+ s+creotLing +nol+nov+lues+sourceoluntolove+ltL¸
our Louses mustLecrovoeo togetLer +noour streets mustlol-
ìovtLeir+ncientillogic+lme+noerings. lec+use Louses mustLe
Luilt +t tLe lovest possiLle cost to +llov tLe LigLest possiLle
prolt, tLey +re oenieo tLe +rt +no science ol tLe +rcLitect,
lec+use everytLing ve Luy lor use mustLesololor prolt, +nd
Lec+use tLere must +lv+ys Le tLis proEt+Lle m+rgin Letveen
cost +no price, our pots +no our p+ns, our lurniture +no our
clotLes, L+vetLes+mesLoooyconsistency,tLes+mecompetitive
cLe+pness. TLe vLole olour c+pit+list culture is one immense
veneer. + surl+ce reEnement Lioing tLe cLe+pness +nd
sLoooiness+ttLeLe+rtoltLings.
To LellvitLsucL+ culture' To tLeruLLisLLe+p+nolurn+ce
vitLit+ll' LetusceleLr+te tLe oemocr+ticrevolutioncre+tively,
LetusLuilo cities tL+t+renottooLig, Lutsp+cious,vitLtr+ßc
ßovinglreelytLrougLtLeirle+ly+venues,vitLcLilorenpl+ying
s+lelyintLeirgreen+noßoveryp+rks, vitLpeoplelivingL+p-
pily in LrigLt eßcient Louses. Let us pl+ce our l+ctories +no
vorksLopsvLeren+tur+lconoitionsolsupplym+ke tLeirloc+-
tion most convenient-tLe necess+ryelectricpover c+nLel+id
on+nyvLere.LetusL+l+nce+griculture +noinoustry,tovn+no
country-letusoo+ll tLesesensiLle+noelement+rytLings+no
then letust+lk+Loutourculture.
A culture ol pots +no p+ns' some ol my re+oers m+y cry
contemptuously. l oo not oespise + culture olpots +no p+ns,
29
30 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
lec+use, +s l L+ve +lre+oy s+io, tLe lest civiliz+tions oltLe p+st
m+y le juogeo ly tLeir pots +no p+ns. lut vL+t l +m nov
+sserting,+s+l+volListorynolesstL+n+s+principleolsoci+l
economy, istL+tuntil+ society c+nproouce le+utilul pots +no
p+ns +s n+tur+lly +s it grovs pot+toes, it vill le inc+p+lle ol
tLoseLigLerlormsol+rtvLicLintLep+stL+vet+kentLelorm
oltemples+noc+tLeor+ls,epics+noor+m+s.
AslortLep+st,lettLep+stt+kec+reolitselllknovtL+ttLere
is sucL + tLing +s tr+oition, lut in so l+r +s itis v+lu+lle it is +
looyoltecLnic+lknovleoge-tLemysteriesoltLeologuilos-
+noc+ns+lelyleentrusteototLec+reoltLenevguilos.TLereis
+ tr+oition+lv+yoltL+tcLing L+yst+cks +no+ tr+oition+lv+yol
vriting sonnets. tLeyc+nlele+rneoly+ny+pprentice. lll +m
tolotL+t tLis isnottLeprolounoestme+ning oltLevorotr+o-
ition,lvillnotleoltuse,lutlvillmerelysuggesttL+ttLest+te
oltLe vorlo too+y is + sußcientcommentontLose tr+oition+l
emlooiments olvisoom, ecclesi+stic+l or +c+oemic,vLicLve
+re expecteo to Lonour. TLe cultur+l prollem, ve +re tolo ly
tLesetr+oition+lists,is+tlottom+spiritu+l,even+religiousone.
luttLisisnottrue.Atle+st,itisnotrueroltLecultur+lprollem
tL+noltLeeconomicprollem,or+nyoltLeotLerprollemstL+t
+v+itsolution.
Let us nov suppose tL+t ve L+ve got our oemocr+tic society,
vitLitsrigLtv+yolliving+noitsl+siccultureolpots+nop+ns.
HovtLenooveprocceotoluiloontLislouno+tion?
Culture is + n+tur+l grovtL. ll+ society L+s + plenituoe ol
lreeoom+no+lltLeeconomicessenti+lsol+ oemocr+ticv+yol
lile, tLen culture vill le +ooeovitLout+nyexcessive striving
+lter it. ltvillcome +sn+tur+lly +s tLe lruittotLevellpl+nteo
tree.lutvLenloescriletLetree+s`vell-pl+nteo` , l+mperL+ps
implying more tL+n + gooo soil +no + sLeltereo position-tLe
conoitions tL+tcorresponoto tLepolitic+l+no economic provi-
sions ol+ n+tur+l society. l +m perL+ps implying + g+roener to
TO H E L L WIT H C U LTU R E 3 1
look+lter tLetree,to s+legu+roitlrompests,toprune+v+y tLe
grovtLvLenitistoocrovoeo,tocutouttLeoe+ovooo. l +m.
TLe vilolruittree isnot to le oespiseo. it is + pretty tLing to
look +t, +no it is tLe Le+ltLy stock lrom vLicL +ll our g+roen
treesL+veleencultiv+teo. lutcultiv+tionistLeoistinctivepover
olm+n, tLepover vLicLL+sen+lleoLimtoprogresslrom tLe
+nim+l +no tLe s+v+ge st+te. lnLis progress m+n L+s cultiv+teo,
notonly+nim+ls+nopl+nts,lut+lsoLisovnkino.Louc+tionis
notLing otLer tL+n sellcultiv+tion,+nocultiv+tion, vLen m�n
oirectsittoLisovnspecies,n+tur+llyincluoestLecultiv+tionol
tLose senses +no l+culties ly me+ns olvLicL m+n gives lorm
+nosL+petotLetLingsLem+kes.
lc+nnotoe+l+oequ+telyvitLtLis+spectolmy suljectvitL
outgoingintotLevLolequestionoleouc+tionin+oemocr+tic
society, +notL+tsuljectlL+veoe+ltvitLin+notLerlook.`lutl
must st+temy point olviev, lec+useitisluno+ment+l lrießy,
tLen,lc+nnotconceiveeouc+tion+s+tr+ininginsom+nysep+r
+tesuljects.Louc+tionisintegr+l .itistLeencour+gementoltLe
grovtLoltLevLolem+n,tLecomplete m+n.ltlollovstL+titis
notentirely, noreven m+inly, +n+n+irollookle+rning,lortL+t
isonlytLe eouc+tion olonep+rtolourn+ture-tLe p+rt oltLe
minotL+toe+lsvitLconcepts+no+lstr+ctions.lntLecLilo,vLo
isnotyetm+tureenougLtotLinklytLesesLort-cutmetLoos,it
sLoulolel+rgely+neouc+tionoltLesenses-tLesensesolsigLt,
toucL+noLe+ring. inonevoro,tLe eouc+tionoltLeso:si |ilitj.
lromtLispointolvievtLereisnov+liooistinctionletveen+rt
+noscience. tLereisonlytLevLolem+nvitLLisoiverseinter
ests+nol+culties,+notLe+imoleouc+tion sLouloletooevelop
+lltLeseinL+rmony+nocompleteness.
ltv+sRousse+uvLofrstre+lizeotListrutL,+nosinceRous
se+u`s time tLere L+ve leen sever+l gre+t eouc+tion+lists-
lroelel, Montessori, D+lcroze, Devey-vLo L+ve vorkeo out
Education Through Art (London: Faber &Faber, 1 9 43; new edn, 1 9 5 8).
32 TO H E L L WI TH C U LTU R E
tLepr+ctic+lmetLoosolsucL+neouc+tionoltLesensiLility.ltis
signinc+nt tL+t tLe l+st oltLese, ]oLn Devey, L+s Leen leo to
tLeconclusiontL+ttLereis+n intim+te connectionLetveentLe
rigLtkinooleouc+tion+no+ oemocr+tic society.Youc+n`tL+ve
+goooeouc+tion+lsystemexceptin+oemocr+cy-only+oem
ocr+cygu+r+nteestLeessenti+llreeoom.Lqu+lly,youc+n`tL+ve
+re+loemocr+cyvitLout+truesystemoleouc+tion,loronlyLy
eouc+tion c+n+ societyte+cL tL+trespectlorn+tur+ll+vvLicL
istLeL+sisoloemocr+cy.
'lc+nnotrepe+ttoooltentL+titisonlyoLjectsvLicLc+nLe
perceiveoLytLesensesvLicLc+nL+ve+nyinterestlorcLiloren,
especi+lly cLiloren vLose v+nity L+s not Leen stimul+teo nor
tLeir minos corrupteo Ly soci+l conventions.`TLis oLserv+tion
ol Rousse+u`s sLoulo Le tLe louno+tion ol our eouc+tion+l
metLoos. A cLilo le+rns tLrougL its senses, +no its senses +re
stimul+teo Ly oLj ects-nrst Ly n+tur+l oLjects, +no tLen Ly
oLjects vLicL +re tLe cre+tion ol m+n. Llement+ry eouc+tion
sLoulo te+cLcLilorenLovto use tLeir senses-Lov to see, to
toucL, to listen-it is l+r lrom e+sy to le+rn tLe lull +no ex+ct
use ol tLese l+culties. TLen, L+ving le+rneo Lov to use tLe
senses,sep+r+tely+no conjointly,tLecLilosLoulole+rnLovto
+pplyLisknovleoge.Lovtojuoge+nocomp+retLetruereports
tL+t+rerenoereoLyLissenses,LovtoconstructtLingstL+tgive
+ true sensuous response +no, nn+lly, Lov to construct tLings
tL+t express Lis groving +v+reness ol tLe vorlo +no its
potenti+lities.
llvereturntoourpot+notLinkoltLeoelic+teL+l+nceoltLe
sensesolsigLt+notoucLvLicLmustguioetLepotter+stLecl+y
turnsLetveenLisnngertips,vegetsomeioe+oltLeinoiviou+l
l+ctorsinvolveoin+llcre+tive+ctivity.llvetLenrememLertL+t
tLe potter must oirect tLe vork ol Lis senses tov+ros some
uselul eno-lor tLe pot must lunction-ve get some ioe+ ol
tLe soci+l l+ctor involveo in +ll cre+tive +ctivity. :uLstitute lor
tLe potter +noLis cl+yany vorker+noLism+teri+l, +no you +re
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 33
+t tLe Le+rtol+ll cultur+l +ctivity. tLe s+me conoitions persist,
lromtLepottotLepoem,lromtLecott+getotLec+tLeor+l,lrom
tLe LorsesLoe to tLe +ero-engine. :ensiLility is tLe secret ol
success.
TLere +re oegrees olsensiLility, just +s tLere +reoegrees ol
skill, +noeouc+tion c+nnot, +nosLoulonot, smootLtLemout.
Butl oo not tLink + oemocr+tic societysLoulo unouly Lonour
tLepossessorolexception+lsensiLility.ltis+giltLeovestotLe
cL+nces olLirtL, +no tLe possiLility olexercising Lis gilt, Le
oves to tLe society invLicL Lelives. :o mucL oltLe vorlo' s
gre+t +rtis +nonymous,+noisnonetLevorse,ornonetLeless
+ppreci+teo, lor tLe l+ct. Art +lv+ys +spires to tLe imperson+l.
VLeneverym+nis+n+rtist,vLosL+llcl+imtoLe+superm+n?
VLicLisonly+mooernversionoltLeoloest+noLestoloemo
cr+ticslog+ns. VLenAo+moelveo+noLve sp+n,vLov+stLen
tLegentlem+n?
VLenonce+oemocr+ticsocietyis est+LlisLeo,itvillinevit
+Llyle+o to tLe cre+tion olnev v+lues in +rt, liter+ture, music
+noscience.lnsomeoist+nttimemenvillc+lltLesenevv+lues
tLeDemocr+tic Civiliz+tion, ortLeCultureolDemocr+cy, +nol
Lelieve itvill Le tLe gre+test +no most perm+nent culture ever
cre+teo Ly m+n. lt vill L+ve tLe univers+l v+lues vLicL ve
+ssoci+tevitLtLe gre+testn+mes in tLe cultureoltLe p+st-tLe
univers+lityolAscLylus, D+nte+no:L+kespe+re,+noitvillL+ve
tLesev+luesin+lessoLscure+no+lessimperlectlorm. AscLylus
+no D+nte +no :L+kespe+re +re immort+l, Lut tLey +ooresseo
tLemselves to imperlect societies. to societies stilllull olmor+l
cruelty, soci+l injustice +no perverse superstitions, tLeir vorks
+re 'poisonousto tLe ioe+ oltLeprioe+nooignityoltLecom
mon people, tLe lile-Llooo ol oemocr+cy`. TLe limit+tions ol
tLeir +uoiences Linoereo, inLovever sm+ll oegree, tLe expres
sion oltLeir vision. A perlect society vill not necess+rily pro
ouceperlectvorks ol+rt,Lutinsol+r+sitooesprooucevorks
ol+rt, tLevery l+cttL+ttLe +rtist is +ppe+ling to + moreLigLly
34 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
oevelopeolormolsocietyvillinouce+LigLeroegreeolperlec
tion.TLe+rtistL+s+moreperlectinstrumentonvLicLtopl+y.
Ve sLoulo not Le oiscour+geo Ly tLe l+ct tL+t +ll LitLerto
consciously oemocr+tic +rtL+ssuEereolromL+ving to Lepro
ouceovitLintLelr+mevorkol+ c+pit+list society.HitLertonot
onlyL+stLeoemocr+tic+rtistL+otocompromisevitLtLeme+ns
ol communic+tion open to Lim +s + memLer ol + c+pit+list
oroer-tLePress,tLecinem+,tLetLe+tre,etc.-LutLeL+sL+oto
use tLe Lum+n m+teri+l +no or+m+tic situ+tions incioent+l to
tL+t oroer ol society. His only +ltern+tive L+s Leen to st+no
sellconsciously +sioe, limiting Limsell to 'vorkers' +no tLeir
experiences-+llolvLicLexpl+instLeore+riness+nomonotony
olmostsoc+lleo ' prolet+ri+n+rt' .TLe+rtistc+nnotrestrictLim
selltosection+linterestsoltLiskinovitLoutoetrimenttoLis+rt.
Le isonly ' +ll out' +no c+p+Lle olLis gre+testr+nge vLen tLe
societyLevorkslorisintegr+l,+no+svioe+nov+rieo+sLum+n
ityitselí ltis only in so l+r +s Le is simply 'Lum+n` tL+t Le is
vLolly'gre+t' ,+noitisonlyin+oemocr+ticsocietytL+ttLe+rtist
c+n+ooressLum+nity+nosocietyintLes+meterms.
To tLis gener+l rule ve must +omit cert+in r+re exceptions.
Cert+intypesol+rt+re ' +rcLetyp+l' . TL+tisto s+y, tLougLtLey
m+yL+ve+limiteor+nge-inoeeo,LytLen+tureoltLings, must
L+ve tLis limiteo r+nge-tLey +re lorm+lly perlect. A song Ly
:L+kespe+re or ll+ke, + melooy Ly l+cL or Moz+rt, + Persi+n
c+rpet or + Creek v+se-sucL ' lorms' , in tLe voros olKe+ts,
' te+seus out oltLougLt+s ootL eternity' . TLeyte+se us outol
ourLum+npreoccup+tions-tLe tLemeolepic+noor+m++no
novel-+nolor+lev LrielseconosLoloussuspenoeoin+time
less existence. :ucL r+re moments +re Leyono o+ily re+lity,
supersoci+l +no in + sense superLum+n. lut in rel+tion to tLe
vLole Looy olvL+t ve c+ll '+rt' , tLey +re Lut tLe glittering
pinn+cles, +noLelovtLemspre+ostLesoliostructureolLum+n
ioe+ls, Lum+n vision +no Lum+n insigLt. tLevorlo olp+ssion
+noolsentiment,ollove+nol+Lour+noLrotLerLooo.
TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E 35
TLe only person vLo seems to L+ve esc+peo tLe limit+tions
tL+t L+veinevit+Lly Leset +rtists oltLe preoemocr+tic er+s is +
poet vLo, in spite olLis evioent ve+knesses, is + prototype or
lorerunner ol tLe oemocr+tic +rtist-l me+n V+lt VLitm+n.
TLe nineteentLcentury Americ+ in vLicL Le liveo v+s Ly no
me+ns + perlect oemocr+cy, Lut tLee+rlyAmeric+ns, especi+lly
]eEerson +no Lincoln, L+o L+o + cle+r vision oltLe requisites
ol + oemocr+tic society, +no tLey inspireo VLitm+n vitL tLe
+mLition to Le tLe lrst poet ol tLis nev oroer. He v+s lreo
Ly + re+liz+tion ol tLe tremenoous potenti+lities ol tLe Nev
VorlointovLicLLeL+oLeenLorn.
' Sol e among nati onal i ti es, these States have assumed the
task to put in forms of l asti ng power and practi cal ity, on areas
of ampl i tude ri val l i ng the operati ons of the physi cal kosmos,
the moral pol i ti cal specul ati ons of ages, l ong, l ong deferr' d, the
democratic republ i can pri nci pl e, and the theory of devel op­
ment and perfecti on by vol untary standards, and sel f- rel i ance. '
lut tLese potenti+lities coulo never Le re+lizeo on tLe politic+l
pl+ne+lone.
' I say that democracy can never prove i tsel f beyond cavi l , unti l
it founds and l uxuri antl y grows i ts own forms of art, poems,
school s, theol ogy, di spl aci ng al l that exi sts, or that has been
produced anywhere i n the past, under opposite i nfl uences. '
' The priest departs, the divine li teratus comes . ' ln tLese voros V+lt
VLitm+nsumsup tLevLole+rgumentoltLisess+y.lutlettLe
re+oer turn to Democratic Vistas, tL+t creoo ol V+lt VLitm+n` s
lromvLicLmyquot+tionscome,+noletLimlnotLerei nlull
nesstLe essenti+loemocr+tictrutLs, +noinp+rticul+rtLosetL+t
rel+teto tLeenouringv+luesolLum+nlile, +noto tLeirexpres-
sioninenouringvorks ol+rt.AnolromtLisprosevorkoltLe
36 TO H E L L WI T H C U LTU R E
gooogreypoetlettLere+oer turn to Leaves of Grss +no seeilLe
ooesnotE notLere,sLiningtLrougLtLecruoities+nocontr+oic-
tionsvLicLVLitm+nLimsellv+s tLefrst to +omit, tLe line+
mentsolouroivineliter+tus,ouroemocr+ticpoet+noexempl+r.
SucL m+y not Le tLe lorm oltLe +rt ol tLe luture, Lut it is its
propLeticspirit-
' Expandi ng and swif, henceforth,
El ements, breeds, adj ustments, turbul ent, qui ck and
audaci ous,
A worl d pri mal agai n, vi stas of gl ory i ncessant and branchi ng,
A new race domi nati ng previ ous ones and grander far, wi th
new contests,
New pol i ti cs, new l i terature and rel i gi ons, new i nventi ons and
arts.
These, my voice announci ng-! wi l l sl eep no more but ari se,
You oceans that have been cal m withi n me! how I feel you,
fathoml ess, sti rri ng, prepari ng unprecedented waves and
storms. '
3
TH E POLITICS OF TH E
UNPOLITICAL
If certain writers feel emancipated enough from all that i s
human-they would say intellectual enough-to conti nue to
fulfl, under any circumstances whatever, the strange func­
ti ons of purely abstract thought, good luck to them. But those
who can only conceive thei r role as wri ters to be a means of
experiencing more deeply and of establishing more fully a
mode of exi stence which they want to be human, those who
only write in order to feel themselves living integrally-such
people no longer have the ri ght to be disinterested. The trend
of events, and the evolution of ideas, if they run out their
course, will lead straight to an unparalleled deformation of
the individual human being. Whoever gazes into the future
which i s being forged for us, and can there perceive the mon­
strous and denatured brother whom one will necessarily
resemble, cannot react except by a revolt into extreme ego­
ism. It is this egoism which must now be rehabili tated. Today
the problem of the person efaces all others. The intelli gence
i s placed in such circumstances that for it di si nterestedness
and resignation come to the same thing.
Thierry Maulnier, La Crise est dans l hom me (Paris, 1932) .
38 T H E P OL I TICS OF T H E U N PO L I TI C AL
TLe politics ol tLe unpolitic+l-tLese +re tLe politics ol tLose
vLo oesire to Le pure in Le+rt. tLe politics ol men vitLout
person+l +mLition, oltLosevLoL+venotoesireove+ltLor +n
unequ+lsL+reolvorlolypossessions,oltLosevLoL+ve+lv+ys
striven,vL+tever tLeir r+ce or conoition, lor Lum+nv+lues +no
notlorn+tion+lorsection+linterests.
lorourVesternvorlo,CLrististLesupremeex+mpleoltLis
unselfsLoevotiontotLe goooolLum+nity, +notLe:ermonon
tLeMountistLesourceol+lltLepolitics oltLe unpolitic+l.But
otLers vLo c+me Lelore CLrist +no vLo m+y L+ve inßuenceo
Limel+Lor+teotLeirpolitic+lioe+ls inpureness olLe+rt-L+o
Tzu+no Zeno, lorex+mple, +no +mong CLrist` soirectoisciples
vemustincluoesever+lpLilosopLers+nopropLetsne+rertoour
time, vLose mess+ge is still insistent +no oirectly +pplic+Lle to
our present conoition-Ruskin +noKropotkin, Morris +noTol
stoy,C+noLi+noLricCill.TLesemooernrepresent+tivesolvL+t
ve migLt vell c+ll +n +ncient tr+oition lorm + closely inter
rel+teoLooyoltLougLt. C+noLi,lorex+mple,oecl+reoLisoeLt
to Ruskin +no Tolstoy, Cill v+s + oisciple olMorris, vLo v+s
Limsell+ oisciple olRuskin, Kropotkin v+s closely +ssoci+teo
vitL Morris. Ruskin, in tLis succession, L+s + cert+in pre
eminence+noorigin+lity. tLevit+lity +no tr+nslormingpover'
olLisvritingsseemtocomestr+igLtlromLisoeepstuoyoltLe
liLle+nolromLisprolongeomeoit+tionontLevorosolCLrist,
tLougLLeL+oinLimselltL+tr+repovervLicLC+noLirecog
nizeo +s tLespecifc+llypoeticpover-Lis pover ' to c+ll lortL
tLe gooo l+tentintLeLum+nLre+st` . Ve +re stilll+rlromesti
m+tingtLelullextentoltLisgre+tm+n` sinßuence,Lutve c+n
oescriLe it +s etLic+l +no +estLetic r+tLer tL+n +s religious or
politic+l. Ruskin' s eloquence oio not Lring into Leing eitLer +
'The one book that brought about an instantaneous and practical transform­
ation in my life was Unto this Last. '-Mahatma Gandhi : His Ow Stor
y
(London,
1 9 30) . p. 1 6 3.
TH E P OL I T I CS O F T H E U N P OL I T I C AL 39
nev sector + nevp+rty, Lis poveri s emotive +no not c+lcul+
tive,+nointLis+sinotLerrespects Leisne+rlyrel+teotoRous-
se+u,L+vinglorourovnrevolution+ryperioo+lmostex+ctlytLe
s+mesignifc+nce+s Rousse+u L+olortLelrencLRevolution+ry
perioo Ve m+y still come to reg+ro Unto this Last +s tLe Contrat
Social ol+ nev society-+s tLe M+nilesto oltLose communists
vLorenouncepolitic+l +ctionintLeirenortsto est+LlisL+nev
society
OltLe six n+mes mentioneo, Morris v+s tLe only one vLo
compromiseoon tLispolitic+lissue, Lut Le never, to tLe eno ol
Lislile, reconcileoLimselltotLepolitic+lmetLoos+ovoc+teoLy
Lis lrienos.His lecture on 'TLePolicyolALstention' ( l 88/ ) is
tLeLestst+tementoltLe c+se+g+instp+rli+ment+ry+ctionever
m+oeinLnglisL,+noitis+pitytL+titissoentirelylorgottenLy
soci+lists too+y, +no tL+t it is only +v+il+Lle in + limiteo +no
expensivepuLlic+tion.Tov+ros tLeeno olLislile C+noLi +lso,
itmigLtLes+io,m+oe+t+ctic+lcompromiseolsomekinovitL
tLepolitic+llyminoeo le+oers oltLe Congress P+rty.Hevorkeo
in close +ssoci+tion vitL tLem, Lut +lv+ys in + rel+tionsLip
vLicLLeLimsellL+soescriLeo+s' experiment+l` . lortLevLole
ol C+noLi` s lile +no te+cLing vere oirecteo +g+inst p+rli+
ment+ry+ction. tLeooctrineolahimsa, ornonviolence,rejecteo
tLeviolenceolm+joritygovernmentnolessoecisivelytL+ntLe
vioìence olmilit+ry oppression. ln tLe eno Lis metLoos met
vitLcompletesuccess.
lt is cL+r+cteristic ol tLese six te+cLers tL+t +ltLougL tLey
vouloLe incluoeo +mong tLemostrevolution+ryEgures oltLe
p+stLunoreoye+rs,veoonotspont+neously+ssoci+tetLevoro
'oemocr+cy` vitL +nyoltLem.Democr+cy is +very +mLiguous
voro, +no its me+nings v+ry lrom + sentiment+l symp+tLy lor
tLepoor+nooppresseosucL+sve getinCLristi+n:oci+lism,to
`
William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, by May Morris (2 vols. Oxford: Basil
Blackwell, 1 9 36) , vol . i i . pp. 434-5 3.
40 T H E P OL I T I CS O F T H E U N P OL I T I C AL
a rutLless oogma ol proletarian oictatorsLip sucL a s ve Lave
seen estaLlisLeo in Russia. Our :ix vere all oemocrats in tLe
lormersense,none oltLemvas a oemocratin tLe latter sense.
lut it is an important oistinction, anoilin tLe name oloem
ocracyvearemoreanomoreinevitaLly compelleo to commit
ourselvestotLepoliticalmacLineryoltLestate-totLenational
izationolinoustry, to tLeLureaucraticcontrol olall spLeres ol
lileanototLeooctrineoltLeinlalliLilityoltLePeople ¸oivinely
investeo in a unique Party)-tLen it is time to renounce tLe
oemocraticlaLel anoseeka less equivocalname. Myuse oltLe
voro ' oemocracy' isaìvays suLjecttotLisconsioeration.
A completerenunciationoltLe voro is not easy. inoeeo, it
Las Leen oeliLerately maoe oißcult lor us, not only Ly tLe
commonusage olmanyaroentseekers alter tLe trutL, Lut also
Ly tLe oeliLerateµropaganoaoltLeenemiesolliLerty. A com
monlormoltLisMacLiavelliansopListryconsistsinpresenting
your opponent vitL an aµparently inescapaLle alternative-an
' eitLerI or'vLicLyou acceptascoveringall tLeknovnlacts.ln
our ovn time, in tLe spLere olvorlo politics, tLis eitLerI or is
either oemocracy et lascism. :ucL an alternative seems to leave
communism out olaccount, Lut not inreality. llyou question
people aLout tLe relation ol communism to oemocracy, tLe
communists among tLem vill tell you tLat communism is tLe
extreme lorm oloemocracy, ano tLe anticommunists vill say
tLatcommunismasitexistsinRussiaismerelyanotLerlormol
totalitarianism.
lotLtLesevievsarerigLt.Communismisanextremelormol
oemocracy,anoitistotalitarian.LutequallytLetotalitarianstate
in tLe lorm ollascism is an extreme lorm ol oemocracy. All
lormsolsocialism,vLetLerstatesocialismoltLeRussiankino,
ornationalsocialismoltLeCermankino,or oemocraticsocial
ismoltLelritisLkino,areprolesseolyoemocratic. tLatistosay,
tLey all oLtain popular assent Ly tLe manipulation ol mass
psycLology.Allareactuallymajoritygovernments.
T H E P OL I T I C S O F TH E U N P OL I T I C A L 41
1Le veaknesses ol oemocracy Lave Leen exposeo Ly every
political pLilosopLer since Plato ano Aristotle. Lven Rousseau,
tLesocalleolatLerolDemocracy,rejecteoitasasystempractic-
aLle lor any society largertLan a city state. TLe pLilosopLers,
Leingmenolintelligence,Lavenever Leen aLle to suggestany-
tLingLettertLanaoictatorsLiµoltLeintelligentsia,Lutknoving
LovunlikelyitistLatsucLa oictatorsLip voulo Le long toler
ateo Ly tLe ignorant masses, tLey Lave trieo to oisguise tLe
inevitaLility ol some alternative lorm ol oictatorsLip unoer a
µicturesque lormula. Historically tLe most eEective ol tLese is
constitutional monarcLy. lt Las alvays Leen recognizeo tLat a
king migLt easily oegenerateintoa tyrant, LutLisnaturallile is
limiteoanocanat apincLLeartiEciallysLorteneo,vLereastLe
reignolanaristocracy,vLicListLenextLestpossiLility,Lasno
mensuraLlelimit. itcanonlyLeLrougLttoanenoLyacivilvar
vitLallitsmiseries.
TLeplainlactaLoutoemocracyistLatitisapLysicalimpos
siLility.lnanaggregationolmillions olinoiviouals sucLasve
alvays Lave in mooern society, ve may get government eltLe
people ano even government let tLe people, Lut never lor a
moment government |jtLepeople.luttLatistLeessentialtest,
lor ila people ooes not govern itsell, it is governeo Ly some-
Looy else, i¡se lacte it is no longer a oemocracy. TLis is not
merelyalogicalquiLLle. oemocracyneverLasinlactexisteoin
mooern times. ln ourovn country, lor example, tLe monar-
cLical system vas overtLrovn Ly an oligarcLy, ano since tLe
'Creat' Revolutionoll 688veLaveLeen governeoLyasucces-
sion ololigarcLies, vLicL migLt Le VLig or migLt Le 1ory,
migLtrepresent tLe lanoeo interests or tLemoneyeo interests,
lut never lor a moment representeo tLepeopleas a vLole. ln
our ovn time a nev oligarcLy, tLe oligarcLy ol tLe traoe
unions, as exclusive a caste as ever aspireo to pover, Las
competeo, luckily in vain, lor tLe control ol tLe state. lt is
nov openly merging itsell vitL tLe ascenoant oligarcLy ol
42 T H E P OL I T I CS O F TH E U N P OL I T I C AL
monopoly c+pit+lism, to lorm vL+t]+mes lurnL+m L+s c+lleo
' tLem+n+geri+lcl+ss' .
AlltLisissucL+noLviousinterpret+tionoltLeListoric+ll+cts
tL+t no one Lut + lool c+n oeceive Limsell in tLe LelieltL+t
oemocr+cy L+s ever Leen, or is everlikely to Le, + re+lity in +
mooern inoustri+l community. A constitution+l mon+rcLy +s
+clo+klorcompetingsection+linterests,+s+symLololunityin
+societyvLicLvoulootLerviseoisintegr+telromrutLlesscl+ss
v+rl+re-tL+t is tLe oefnition oltLe lritisL constitution. TLe
lrencLRepuLlic, tLeUniteo:t+tesolAmeric+, tLe Cerm+n+no
lt+li+nRepuLlics+re+llconstitutionsoltLes+mecL+r+cter.tLey
only oiner in nomencl+ture +no tLe trimming on tLeir
unilorms.
NevertLeless tLis mustLes+io (ilonlyin| ustifc+tion oltLe
lip service vLicL so m+ny ol us L+ve p+io to oemocr+cy +t
v+rious times). tLe politic+l ooctrineknovn +s oemocr+cy L+s
implieo+nimport+ntprinciplevLicL,ilitverenotsystem+tic
+llymisinterpreteo+nomisunoerstooo, voulo stilljustily us in
usingtLevoro.TLisistLeprinciple of equality-an etLic+looctrine,
even + religious oogm+. TLe equ+lity ol m+n implies m+ny
tLings, Lutneveritsliter+lme+ning.NooneLelievestL+t+llmen
+re equ+l in c+p+city or t+lent. tLey +re in l+ct outr+geously
oiverse. lut nevertLeless, in CLristi+npLr+seology, tLey +re +ll
equ+l intLe sigLt olCoo, +noto +mrmourcommonLum+nity
is tLe frst +rticle ollreeoom.VL+tever governmentve est+L
lisL,vL+teverv+yollilevelollov, +llourl+itLisLuiltonerror
unless ve respect tLe rigLts oltLe person-tL+t is to s+y, Lis
rigLttoLe+person, +unique entity, ` Lum+nlelt, lromLum+n
lree` .
TLis i s tLe luno+ment+l ooctrine ol+ CLristi+n community
+nool+llotLertypesolessenti+lcommunism.ltisevenluno+-
ment+lto tLecommunismolM+rx+noLngels.luttLeequ+lity
+cknovleogeo Ly oemocr+cy L+s in pr+ctice Leen sometLing
very oinerentCoo L+s Leen elimin+teo lrom tLe lormul+ +no
TH E P OL I T I CS O F TH E U N PO L IT I C AL 43
ve +re lelt vitL + mere equ+liz+tion orlevelling olm+n vitL
m+n. TLe spiritu+l me+sureL+s Leen oisc+roeo, +no m+nislelt
to o+ngle in m+teri+l sc+les, +no lor centuries tLe counter
veigLt L+s Leen + piece olsilver. TLe only v+y in vLicL oe
mocr+cyL+s Leen+Lleto +ssess equ+lityisinterms olmoney,
+noitistLein+LilityoltLetr+oeunionmovement,especi+llyin
Cre+t lrit+in +no Cerm+ny, to Lre+k +v+y lrom tLis c+sLv+lu-
+tionolLum+nityvLicLL+s, moretL+n+nyotLer singlel+ctor,
m+oetLeoemocr+ticvorkingcl+ssmovement+lutileoiversion
olrevolution+ry enort.
lyvL+tv+lues + m+nsL+llLe| uogeo+Lsolutelyve villnot
oiscuss Lere, Lut soci+lly, +s + m+n +mong Lis lellovmen, Le
sLoulo Le| uogeoLyLis cre+tive +Lility, LyLispover to +ooto
tLe common stock olgooos.TLev+lueol+m+nistLev+lueol
tLe+rtLepr+ctises-vLetLeritistLe+rtolLe+ling ortLe+rtol
m+kingmusic,tLe+rtolro+omenoingortLe+rtolcooking.Ve
migLt pl+ce frst ol+ll tLe +rt olm+king cLiloren, Lec+use on
tL+t tLecontinu+nceoltLe Lum+nr+ce oepenos. Procre+tionis
perL+pstLeonly+rtvLicLisliter+llycre+tive.tLerestoltLe+rts
+remerelyinventive.
lortLis +nolorre+sons more strictlysociologic+l, our soci+l
pLilosopLymustLeginvitLtLel+mily.lromvL+teverre+listic
+ngleve+ppro+cLtLeproLlemsolLum+nlile,tLel+milyisseen
+s tLeintegr+lunit,vitLoutvLicLtLereisno soci+l org+niz+
tion,nosoci+lprogress,nosoci+loroerorLum+nL+ppiness.lut
Chiefly because it has prevented the workers from concentrating on the
enhancement of their human dignity by the acquisition of responsibility for
the direction and control of industry. But also because, as Franz Borkenau has
shown so efectively, it has prevented the development of international solidar­
ity among the workers, for the wage-rate is directly dependent on the inter­
national market, not only of labour, but of commodities. For this reason the
workers have been forced to realize that their interests are bound up, not only
with the interests of their employers, but also with the competitive expansion
of the national economy. Cf. Ï Borkenau, Socialism, National or International
(Routledge, 1 94 2) .
44 T H E P O L I T I CS O F T H E U N PO L I T I C AL
ve mustinsisttL+ttLis is + sociologic+lproLlem, +nove must
oissoci+te ourselves lrom tLose vLo tLink it c+n Le solveo Ly
mor+l persu+sion. l+milies +re encour+geo +no sust+ineo Ly
security ollile +no property, oecent Lousing, +no +n environ
mentinvLicLnurture+noeouc+tionc+nLen+tur+l+noserene.
Mor+lity+no religionm+y give tLeir s+nctionto tLe soci+lunit
tLusest+LlisLeo. itistLel+scistv+yoltLinkingto im+ginetL+t
sucL s+nctions+re+suLstituteloreconomic+ction.
TLenextessenti+lgroupistLeguilo-tLe+ssoci+tionolmen
+no vomen +ccoroing to tLeir c+lling or pr+ctic+l lunction. (l
oLstin+telyret+intLevoro ' guilo' , inspite olits meoiev+l+no
sentiment+l +ssoci+tions, Lec+use it is more Lum+n, +no
eupLonious,tL+nsucLexpressions+s' collective' , 'cooper+tive ,
`soviet ' , etc.) TLeguiloi s +vertic+l+nonot+Lorizont+lorg+n
iz+tion.itincluoes+llpersons+ssoci+teotogetLerintLeproouc
tion ol + p+rticul+r commooity. TLe +gricultur+l guilo, lor
ex+mple,vouloincluoe tLeorivers+nomecL+nicsvLoruntLe
tr+ctors. tLeengineers` guilovouloincluoe tLemenvLom+ke
tLe tr+ctors. But tLe vertic+l org+niz+tion vill Le oivioeo into
region+l +no oistrictunits, +no tLe m+in Lusiness oltLe guilos
vill+lv+yst+kepl+ceintLeoistrictunits,oecisionsvill+riseout
ol person+l cont+cts +no not lrom tLe +Lstr+ct +no leg+listic
concl+vesol+centr+lLure+u.
Decentr+liz+tionistLus+lso oltLe essenceoltLis +ltern+tive
to oemocr+cy. 'Re+l politics +re loc+l politics` , +no pover +no
+utLoritysLouloLeoevolveo+nosegmenteototLeutmostlimit
olpr+ctic+Lility.OnlyinsucL+v+yc+ntLeperson-everyper
soninsociety-Le+ssureool+n+oequ+tesenseolresponsiLility
+noLum+noignity. TLesequ+litieslor tLe+ver+gepersononly
emerge in Lis +ctu+l spLere ol vork +no in Lis region+l
environment.
TLetrenotocentr+liz+tionis+oise+seoloemocr+cy,+nonot,
+sissoolten+ssumeo,oltLem+cLine.lt+risesinevit+Llylrom
tLe concentr+tion olpover in p+rli+ment, lrom tLe sep+r+tion
TH E P OL I T I C S O F TH E U N PO L I T I CA L 45
m+oe Letveen responsiLility +no cre+tive +ctivity, lrom tLe
m+ssingolproouctionlorgre+terprofts+noLigLerv+ges.TLe
evolution oloemocr+cy is p+r+llel to tLe grovtL olcentr+liz+
tion, +no centr+liz+tion is in no sense +n inevit+Lle process.
\ooernv+rl+re L+sreve+leo itsextr+oroin+ryineßciency.TLe
guerrill+sol )ugosl+vi+ sLoveomoreiniti+tivetL+ntLeLure+u
cr+ts ol Lonoon or Berlin. TLe centr+liz+tion ol control in +
oemocr+tic st+te is clumsy, inLum+n +no inert. lnc+p+Lle ol
tLougLt,origin+lityorenterprise,itc+nonly+ctunoertLeoict+
torsLip ol+ Hitler or + CLurcLill-even tLe sLrill voices ol+n
ex+sper+teoPressL+venoeEectonit.
TLeLe+ltL+noL+ppinessolsocietyoepenoontLel+Lour+no
scienceolitsmemLers,LutneitLer Le+ltLnorL+ppinessispos
siLleunlesstL+tvork+noscience+reoirecteo+nocontrolleoLy
tLe vorkers tLemselves. A guilo is Ly oeEnition +utonomous
+no sellgoverning. Lvery m+n vLo is + m+ster ol Lis cr+lt
+cquires tLereLy tLe rigLt to + voice in tLe oirection ol Lis
vorksLop. He +lso +cquires security oltenure +no olincome.
lnoeeo,Lisincome+noListenuresLoulooepenoonLisqu+liE-
c+tionsr+tLertL+non tLet+llyolLis l+Lours. He sLouloLegin
toreceive +nincomelromtLemomentLeL+scLosen+ c+lling
+no Leen +omitteo +s +n +pprentice ol+ tr+oe or prolession-
vLicL vill Le long Lelore Le L+s lelt scLool. His income vill
rise vitL Lis qu+liEc+tions, +no vill oepeno entirely on Lis
qu+liEc+tions.Anyr+tion+lsocietyvilln+tur+llym+keuseoltLe
services ol+ qu+liEeo vorker, Lec+use it tLereLy incre+ses tLe
gener+l vellLeing. llitl+ils to oo so, tL+t societyisrestricting
proouction, +no il sucL restriction is in tLe gener+l interest,
tLen society sLoulo p+y tLe vorker lor Lis qu+liEc+tions until
tLey c+n Le useo, or otLervise p+y tLe vorker to tr+in +no
+cquiremoreimmeoi+telyuselul qu+lifc+tions.TLet+lents+no
+cquireo skillol+ person+reLis property. Lis contriLution to
tLe common ve+ltL. :ociety sLouloLeorg+nizeoto secure tLe
m+ximumutiliz+tionolits inLerent ve+ltL, +no tLe proouctive
46 TH E P O L I T I CS OF TH E U N P OL ITI CAL
org+niz+tions tLemselves vill tLen oecioe Lov tLis common
ve+ltLis Lest incre+seo-Ly m+cLinery or L+noicr+lt, Ly l+rge
l+ctories or sm+ll vorksLops, in tovns or vill+ges. TLe Lum+n
v+lues involveo, +no not +n +Lstr+ct +no numeric+l proft, vill
LetLecriterion.
Louc+tion,insucL+society,isiniti+tion.ltistLerevel+tionol
inn+tec+p+cities, tLetr+iningoltLesec+p+citiesinsoci+llyuse-
lul +ctivities, tLe oisciplining oltLese +ctivities to +estLetic+no
mor+lenos.
:ucL +n+tur+lorg+niz+tionolsociety le+ves little +ctivity to
tLe st+te +s sucL. TLe st+te rem+ins merely +s tLe +rLiter, to
oecioeintLeinterests oltLe vLoletLeconßictsvLicLemerge
intLep+rts.:ucL+lunctionis+lre+oyexerciseoLy+ninoepeno
entjuoici+ry,vLicLmigLtvellextenoitslunctionstocovertLe
rigLtsoltLecitizen+sconsumer.AnLconomicCouncil,consti
tuteoLymucLtLes+meme+ns+stLelencL,vouloLenecess+ry
tos+legu+rosociety+s+vLole +g+inst+policyolrestrictionism
in+nyp+rticul+rguilo, to oirecttLegener+lvolumeolproouc-
tion +no to m+int+in + L+l+nceo output +mong its triLut+ry
guilos. lt is oißcult to see tLe necessity lor +ny otLer centr+l
+utLority.
All tLis m+y seem to +mount to + progr+mmel+r more oel
inite+nooogm+tictL+ntLetitleolmyess+ypromiseo,LuttoLe
unpolitic+l ooes not me+nto LevitLoutpolitics. every +ttituoe
tL+t is more tL+n egoistic is to tL+t extent soci+l, +no + soci+l
+ttituoeis+politic+l+ttituoe.lutitisonetLingtoL+vepolitics,
+no+notLertLingtopursuetLem.ltisonetLingtoL+ve+l+itL,
+no +notLer tLing to tr+oeon tLe creoulityoltLe l+itLlul. ltis
not tLe suLst+nce ol politics ve sLoulo oLject to, Lut tLe
metLoosoltLepolitici+n.Ve sLoulorelusetoinvesìourpriv+te
interests in + puLlic policy, lor ve knov tL+t vL+t c+nnot Le
vonLy+cL+ngeolLe+rt,vLicLis+lso+revolutionolre+son,is
onlyvonLycLe+ts+noimpostors.
letmesumm+rizetLeessenti+lle+turesol+n+tur+lsociety.
TH E P OL I T I C S O F TH E U N PO L ITI CA L 47
l. TLeliLertyoltLeperson.
ll. TLeintegrityoltLel+mily.
lll TLerev+roolqu+liEc+tions.
lV TLesell-governmentoltLeguilos.
V TLe+Lolitionolp+rli+ment+nocentr+lizeogovernment.
Vl. TLeinstitutionol+rLitr+ment.
Vll. TLeoeleg+tionol+utLority.
Vlll. TLeLum+niz+tionolinoustry.
Tìe soci+l oroer tLus envis+geo is intern+tion+l Lec+use it is
essenti+lly p+cifc. it is p+ciEc Lec+use it is essenti+lly inter
n+tion+l. lt+ims +ttLe proouctionolvorlovioeplenty, +t tLe
Lum+niz+tion olvork, +no +t tLe er+oic+tion ol+ll economic
conßicts. ltm+y Le, +s somepLilosopLers Lolo, tL+t +n +ggres
siveinstinctisinn+teinm+n,+notL+tnoorg+niz+tionolsociety
c+ngu+ro+g+instits expression.lntL+tc+setLevorloc+nonly
Le m+oe toler+Lle in tLe oegree tL+t tLis instinct c+n Le con
trolleoLy re+sonRe+sonL+sno cL+nceilmen+re st+rving, or
eveniltLeyL+veunouec+uselorenvy.lutgr+nteo+neconomy
tL+t is no longer competitive, in vLicL tLe LigLest yielo ol
proouctionisvisely+noevenlyoistriLuteo+mong+llm+nkino,
tLenre+sonvillL+ve+cL+nce.lnstincts+renotimmut+Lle.tLey
c+nLetr+nslormeo,suLlim+teo, oiverteointocre+tivecL+nnels.
Lnergyitsellisnotevil. itonlyLecomesevilLyLeing+pplieoto
evilenos.
4
TH E CULT OF L EADERS H IP
I am against bigness and greatness in all thei r forms, and
with the i nvi si ble molecular moral forces that work from indi­
vidual to indi vidual, stealing i n through the crannies of the
world like so many sof rootlets, or like the capillery oozing of
water, and yet rending the hardest monuments of man's
pride, if you give them time. The bigger the unit you deal with,
the hollower, the more brutal, the more mendacious is the life
di splayed. So I am against all big organizations as such,
national ones frst and foremost; against all bi g successes
and big results; and i n favour of the eternal forces of truth
which always work in the individual and i mmediately unsuc­
cessful way, underdogs always, till history comes, afer they
are long dead, and puts them on the top.
William j ames, Letters, I I, jO.
ln more tL+n oneoltLese ess+ys l +m concerneo to sLov tL+t
lrom+cert+inpointolvievtLereisnotLing tocLooseLetveen
l+scism+nooemocr+cy-tL+ttLeeconomic+nomilit+ry +nt+g
onisms inLerent in mooern civiliz+tion involve LotL l+scism
+nooemocr+cy+like+noconstituteirrecover+Lleencro+cLments
on tLe pLysic+l +no spiritu+l liLerty oltLe person. TLe incur
TH E C U LT O F L EA D E RS H I P 49
sionsoloemocr+cy+rel+rmoreo+ngerousLec+usetLey +re
¡
+r
more oeceitlul.TLey+re +lv+ys+ccomp+nieoLy+smokescreen
olrigLteousnessvLicLLioes tLeirre+ln+ture+no oimensions,
even lrom m+ny vLo +re most s+lient in tLe +tt+ck TLe very
pre+mLleoltLismen+cing str+tegyis tLe cult olle+oersLip, lor
tLis cult is essenti+lly tLe oeni+l ol tL+t principle ol equ+lity
upon vLicL +lone + community ol lree inoiviou+ls c+n Le
est+llisLeo.
l+scism is + complex soci+l pLenomenon lor vLicL tLeie is
no single or simple expl+n+tion. lt is oLviously not + n+tion+l
pLenomenon-it triumpLeo in L+tin lt+ly no less successlully
tL+n in Noroic Cerm+ny, +no some olits symptomsL+ve Leen
oi+gnoseointLiscountry+notLeUniteo :t+tesolAmeric+. loo
not tLink it is vortL v+sting +ny time on tLe proposition tL+t
l+scism v+s tLe inevit+Lle oevelopment ol cert+in Listoric+l
trenosinCerm+ny.Cerm+nyv+stLeve+kestspotintLeLooyol
worlo politics, +no lor tL+t re+son itv+s most e+sily +nomost
successlully inlecteoLytLeoise+se.TL+tve+kness intLepolit
ic+ì structure ol Cerm+ny c+n Le expl+ineo Listoric+lly, +no
Cerm+npLilosopLersL+vequiten+tur+llytenoeotolnoel+Lor
+tejustilc+tionslorit.lutil+oise+selikec+ncer+tt+cks,s+y,tLe
liver,itisquiteunscientilctos+ytL+ttLeliveristLec+useoltLe
c+ncer.C+nceris+oise+seoltLevLoleLooyvLicLm+yLecome
m+nilestintLeliveror+nyotLer' ve+kspot' .
loonotvisLto oismisstLeListoric+loriginsoll+scism+s ol
noimport+nce. tLeyooexpl+invLytLeoise+sesLoulooevelop
in one n+tion r+tLer tL+n in +notLer. History investig+tes tLe
org+nictissueolsocietyjust+sListologyinvestig+testLeorg+nic
tissue oltLe Lum+n Looy. History is+lv+yspost mortem-it c+n
telluswhy tLisL+ppeneohere. lutitc+nnotexpl+intLeprocesses
governing tLe immeoi+teemotions oltLe collective org+nisms
ve c+llst+tesorn+tionsTLeonlysciencetL+tc+n+ttemptsucL
+nexpl+n+tionispsycLology
ltvillLe s+io tL+t l L+ve lorgotten economics.M+rxi+ns in
50 T H E C U LT O F L EA D E R S H I P
p+rticul+r vill Le e+ger to point out tL+t l L+ve lorgotten my
oi+lectic+l m+teri+lism, Lut l voulo cl+im to L+ve rememLereo
my oi+lectics +svell +s my m+teri+lism.TLere isno oouLt tL+t
economic l+ctors pl+yeo +n enormous p+rt in tLe grovtL ol
l+scism. Hitler Limsellv+s lono ol tr+cing tLe origins olLis
success to tLe injustices oltLe Vers+illes Tre+ty, vLicL v+s +n
unoisguiseoexpressionoleconomiclorces.Hev+snotsolono
ol+omitting vL+t isequ+lly true, tL+t Lev+s Lelpeo to pover
Ly cert+ingroups olc+pit+lists.llHitlerconsciouslyrepresenteo
+ny economic interest, itv+s tL+toltLe ' little m+n' , tLe L+nk
rupt sLopkeeper, tLe sm+ll c+pit+list vLo L+o Leen put out ol
LusinessLy tLe Lig monopolies+no cL+in stores. luteventLis
symp+tLyv+snotgenuine.
TLe economic origins oll+scism L+ve Leen tr+ceo Ly more
tL+nonevriter.lntLeperioo+ltertLelirstVorloV+ritv+stLe
mioole cl+ss, +no p+rticul+rly tLelower mioole cl+ss, tL+t louno
itselltLre+teneoLytLesuooengrovtLolmonopolistc+pit+lism.
ltoevelopeo +n +cute st+te ol+nxiety, evenolp+nic. + psycLo-
logic+l neurosis vLicL leo to + cr+ving lor le+oersLip +no +
cr+vinglorsuLmission.ltv+s oltLis st+te olmino,tLisoise+se
oltLe spirit, tL+t Hitler took +ov+nt+ge. ltis + oevelopment in
m+ss psycLologyvLicLL+sLeenvery+cutely+n+lyseoLyLricL
lromm in The Fear of Freedom. ´ Accoroing to Dr. lromm, Hitler
succeeoeosovell Lec+use Lev+s+Lle to comLine tLe qu+lities
ol+ resentlul petty-Lourgeois, vitL vLom tLe mioole cl+sses
couloioentily tLemselves, emotion+lly +no soci+lly, vitLtLose
ol+n opportunist re+oy to serve tLe interests ol tLe Cerm+n
inoustri+lists+no]unkers.
TLisisnottLepl+ce, norvoulol+t+nytimeleel competent,
' We want our middle class, which is becoming poorer and poorer and whose
means of livelihood are cut of more and more by large business concerns, to
be placed in a position where they can have their share in these goods. '-Hitler
in an interview with a representative of the Associated Press, 1 9 3 2.
¯ London (Kegan Paul), 1 9 42. Title i n US.A. Escape from Freedom.
TH E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P 51
to unoert+ke +n +n+lysis ol tLe economic principles ol tLe
N+tion+l :oci+list movement. :ome people-Dr. lromm, lor
ex+mple-Lelieve tL+t sucL principles oio not exist, tL+t tLe
onlyprincipleprolesseoLytLeN+zisv+s+r+oic+lopportunism.
ltLinktLisis+o+ngeroussimplifc+tion.ltistruetL+tl+scismis
not L+sic+lly +n expression oleconomic lorces. to +ccept tL+t
viev voulo Le to +ccept tLe M+rxist interpret+tion olListory,
+nonever lor +moment,intLeoryorinpr+ctice, oioHitleroo
tL+t.Hismovementv+s+n+ttempttooenytLisprinciple, +noto
putinitspl+ce+principleoltLep+rticul+r enoovmentolr+ces,
+no intLefn+l+n+lysisolinoiviou+lsvitLintLer+ce.AcLieve
mentistLeresultolspeciEcgeniusorc+p+city+nonotolLlino
lorces. Let me quote + key p+ss+ge lrom one ol Hitler s ovn
speecLes.
'The greatness of a peopl e is the resul t not of the sum of al l
its achi evements but i n the l ast resort of the sum of its
outstandi ng achi evements. Let no one say that the pi cture
produced as a frst i mpressi on of human ci vi l i zati on i s the
i mpressi on of i ts achievement as a whol e. Thi s whol e edifce of
ci vi l i zati on i s i n its foundati ons and i n al l its stones nothi ng
el se than the resul t of the creative capacity, the achi evement,
the i ntel l i gence, the i ndustry of i ndi vi dual s: in its greatest tri ­
umphs it represents the great crowni ng achi evement of i ndi ­
vi dual god-favoured geni uses, i n its average accompl i shment
the achi evement of men of average capaci ty, and i n its sum
doubtl ess the resul t of the use of human l abour-force i n order
to turn to account the creati ons of geni us and of tal ent. So it i s
onl y natural that when the capabl e i ntel l i gences of a nati on,
whi ch are al ways i n a mi nori ty, are regarded as onl y of the same
val ue as al l the rest, then geni us, capacity, the val ue of person­
al ity are sl owl y subj ected to the maj ority, and thi s process i s
then fal sely named the rul e of the peopl e. For thi s i s not the rul e
of the peopl e, but i n real i ty the rul e of stupi dity, of medi ocrity,
52 T H E C U LT OF L E A D E R S H I P
of hal f-heartedness, of cowardi ce, of weakness, and of
i nadequacy. Rul e of the peopl e means rather that a peopl e
shoul d al low i tsel f to be governed and l ed by its most capabl e
i ndi vi dual s, those who are born to the task, and not that a
chance maj ority whi ch of necessity is al i en to these tasks
shoul d be permi tted to admi ni ster al l spheres of l i fe. ' 3
TLisis+ cl+ssiclormul+tionoltLe ooctrineolle+oersLip.ln
enectitistLeooctrineolpoverpolitics,+nopoverpoliticsL+ve
+lv+ys sLovn+nextremecontemptloreconomics+no evenlor
re+son. Civiliz+tion m+y ove its LigLest +cLievements to inoi·
viou+l gool+voureo geniuses, Lut tLere L+s +lv+ys Leen
sometLing L+pL+z+rointLeirincioence, +no it is +lso true tL+t
civiliz+tion oves its o+rkest Lours to evil geniuses vLo L+ve
Leenequ+llyinoiviou+l.Asecureciviliz+tionc+nnotLeL+seoon
sucL + g+mLle, +no it is only inoiviou+ls vLo Lope to LeneEt
lrom sucL + g+mLle vLo erect it into + Listoric+l principle. ln
tLis v+y tLey Lope to oisguise tLeir n+keo cr+ving lor pover,
vLicListLeluno+ment+ll+ctorin+lltLeirtLougLts+no+ctions.
TLiscr+ving lorpoveris+nirr+tion+llorce-itc+nnomoreLe
expl+ineo Ly economic l+ctors tL+n+ cr+ving lor orink or lor
orugs, tLougL, like tLese cr+vings, it c+n Le encour+geo or
tLv+rteoLyeconomicl+ctors.
TLenecess+ry+n+lysisoltL+tcr+ving lorpover,vLicListLe
L+sicl+ctor in tLepsycLology oll+scism, L+s Leen oone, most
convincingly in my opinion, Ly tLe vriter just quoteo, Dr.
lromm. Any sucL +n+lysis involves tLe use ol more tecLnic+l
terms tL+n +rejustiE eointLepresentcontext, Lutletmetry to
summ+rize Drlromm` s+rgumentveryLrießy.ltLegins oi+lect
ic+lly enougL vitL economic +no Listoric+l l+ctors-vitL tLe
From a speech delivered to the Industry Club in Dusseldorf, 2 7th January
1 9 32. From The Speeches of Adolf Hiter, trans. by Norman H. Baynes (Oxford,
1 9 42), vol. i. pp. 784-5 .
TH E C U LT OF L EA D E R S H I P
Listoric+l struggle olm+n to g+in lreeoom lrom tLe politic+I
economic+nospiritu+lsL+cklesvLicLLounoLimtLrougLlong
centuries olo+rkness +no oesp+ir. ltsLovstL+t time +lter time
m+nL+sLeen+lr+ioto use tLe lreeoomLeL+s g+ineo, +noL+s
l+llen L+ck on some +ltern+tive system olcontrol. HeL+s suL
missivelyLeloupLisvriststo+nevg+oler-somenev+utLori-
t+ri+nreligion,likeC+lvinism,someneveconomictyr+nny,like
c+pit+lism.TLeinoiviou+l,itseems,is+lr+iotoLe+lone. ' Toleel
completely+lone+noisol+teole+ostoment+loisintegr+tion,|ust
+s pLysic+l st+rv+tionle+os to oe+tL. ' TLe inoiviou+lcr+ves lor
rel+teoness, lor union +no, lromm points out, ' even Leing
rel+teoto tLe L+sest kinoolp+ttern isimmenselypreler+Lle to
Leing +lone.Religion+non+tion+lism,+svell+s+nycustom+no
+nyLeliel,Lovever+Lsuro+nooegr+oing,ilitonlyconnects tLe
inoiviou+lvitLotLers, +rerelugeslromvL+tm+nmost ore+os.
isol+tion. ` Dr. lrommtLenquotes+very enectivep+ss+gelrom
l+lz+c.
' But l earn one thi ng, i mpress it upon your mi nd whi ch is sti l l
so mal l eabl e: man has a horror of al oneness. And of al l ki nds of
a l oneness, moral al oneness is the most terri bl e. The frst her­
mi ts l i ved wi th God. They i nhabited the world whi ch is most
populated, the worl d of the spi ri ts. The frst thought of man, be
he a leper or a pri soner, a si nner or an i nval i d, i s: to have a
compani on of hi s fate. I n order to sati sf thi s drive whi ch is l i fe
i tsel f, he appl i es al l hi s strength, al l hi s power, the energy of hi s
whol e l i fe. ' 4
TLe true solution oltLis proLlem implies communism, Lut
communism in tLe origin+l sense ol tLe voro, +s useo Ly
+n+rcLists, +no not in tLe sense useo Ly M+rxi+ns +no tLeir
opponents. l me+n communism conceiveo +s + spont+neous
Op. cit. , pp. I5-1 6.
53
Þ
54 T H E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P
+ssoci+tion ol inoiviou+ls lor mutu+l +io. lut l+cking tLis
r+tion+l conception, m+n L+s only Leen +Lle to get rio olLis
isol+tion Ly oesper+te me+ns-Ly tLose psycLologic+l oLses-
sions vLicL ve c+ll s+oism +no m+socLism. :+oism is tLe
unconsciousimpulseto+cquireunrestricteopoverover+notLer
person, +no to test tLe lullness olLis pover Ly oestroying tL+t
otLerperson.M+socLismistLeunconsciousimpulsetooissolve
onesellintLepoverol+notLerperson+noto p+rticip+te inLis
+nniLil+tingpover.l+scismistLecomLineoexpressionoltLese
tvo unconscious impulses-its peculi+rity resioes in tLis +m-
Liv+lence,tLiscontinu+lsLiltinglromoneimpulsetotLeotLer,
lroms+oisticoestructivenesstom+socListicsuLmissiveness.
TLere is no neeo to illustr+te tLese cL+r+cteristics lrom tLe
LeL+viour oltLe l+scist p+rties in Cerm+ny +no lt+ly. tL+t L+s
Leen oone in Lunoreos olLooks, +no Hitler' s ovn Look, Mein
Kampf, is +t once + c+seLook +no + textLook oltLese psycLo
logic+l +Lerr+tions. TLe N+zi le+oers vere oriven Ly +n over
vLelming lust lor pover-tL+t l+ct neeos no oemonstr+tion.
TLeN+zilolloversvereorivenLy+nequ+llyovervLelminglust
tosurrenoertLemselvestotLispover.
lromm' s tLesis, tLen, is tL+t tLese s+oistic +no m+socListic
trenos in mooern Listory expl+in tLe in+Lility oltLe isol+teo
inoiviou+l to st+no +lone, to m+ke use oltLe lreeoom Le L+s
g+ineo. Accepting tLis +s + convincing expl+n+tion oltLe psy-
cLologic+l lorces unoerlying l+scism, let us nov consioer
vLetLer tLere oo not exist +mong us cert+in tenoencies oltLe
s+me n+ture-tenoenciesvLicL, ilnotcLeckeo, vill inevit+Lly
le+o tol+scism.
TLemostprev+lentm+nilest+tionoltLesel+tenttenoenciesis
tLeunivers+loem+nolorle+oersLip,+oem+novLicL,notonly
Lyimplic+tion,Luteveninexpression,isioentic+lvitLtLeN+zi
ooctrine.:cLools+reurgeototr+inLoyslor'tLet+sksolle+oer
sLip' , stuoents +re +skeo to oevelop tLe qu+lities olle+oersLip,
selectionLo+rosm+ketLeses+mequ+litiestLecriterionoltLeir
.
T H E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P 55
cloiceolc+noio+teslor commissionsi ntLe+rmy, n+vy +no air
lorce. Lvenvorkers+reurgeotoselecttLeirle+oers-tLeirsLop
stev+ros +no sLilt le+oers. ln tLe politic+l spLere ve L+ve
+oopteotLeFiihrerprinzip vitLoutqu+lifc+tion.
leloreve ex+minevL+tisinvolveointLisgener+loesirelor
le+oersLip, letus oistinguisL + qu+lityvLicLisolten conluseo
vitLle+oersLip,+noisperL+ps+lv+ysincorpor+teoinit. lme+n
tLe qu+lity ol inoiviou+l initi+tive. TLis is luno+ment+lly tLe
impulsetoorigin+te,toconstruct, +no,inrel+tiontootLerinoi-
viou+ls, tLe oesire to oistinguisL onesell ltis + sell-expressive
impulse,+noL+snotLingincommonvitLtLevilltopover.
Nov tLis re+liz+tion ol tLe sell-tLe expression ol tLe
uniquenessoltLeinoiviou+l-is, +sl sL+llempL+sizepresently,
oneoltLemostessenti+lle+turesol+norg+niccommunity,+no
mustLepreserveo+t+llcosts.luttLeinoiviou+lc+nonlyre+lize
Limsell in tLe community, or r+tLer, tLe oiEerence Letveen
re+lizingonesellin tLecommunity+nore+lizingonesellin spitL of
tLecommunityispreciselytLeoistinctionlv+nttom+ke.lntLe
one c+se, tLe uniqueness oltLe inoiviou+l Lecomes p+rt oltLe
p+ttern ol society, in tLe otLer c+se, tLe inoiviou+l rem+ins
outsioe tLe p+ttern, +n un+ssimil+teo +no tLerelore essenti+lly
neuroticelement.
VL+t l tLink emerges lrom tLese consioer+tions is tL+t tLe
l+ilureoloemocr+cytore+lize+nintegr+teop+tternolsocietyis
l+rgely oue to its reli+nce on le+oers. TLrougL gener+tions ve
L+ve spent our Llooo +no expenoeo our utmost eEorts onget-
ting rio oltLele+oersLip olpriests +no kings, +ristocr+ts +no
c+pt+insolinoustry, onlytofnotL+titL+s +ll Leen lutile,only
to fnoourselves vitL tLe s+me inl+ntile longing to Le leo. Ve
t+lk+LouttLe LrotLerLooo ol m+n, +Loutcomr+oesLip +noco-
oper+tion,+notLesepLr+sesoooescriLetLeoeepestinstinctsol
Lum+nity, Lut in +ctu+l l+ct ve +re cLiloren seeking + l+tLer,
LrotLers+nosisterslullolmutu+l| e+lousy+nosuspicion,repe+t-
ingon+n+tion+lsc+letLeneuroticconßictsoltLel+mily.

56 TH E C U LT OF L E A D E R S H I P
ltm+yLe+rgueotL+t,LoveverLe+utilultLeym+yLe+sioe+ls,
LrotLerLooo, comr+oesLip +no cooper+tion +re impr+ctic+Lle
mooesolconouctingtLeLusinessol+st+teinpe+ce +nov+r÷
especi+lly in v+rVe +re tolo tL+t in v+r ve must L+ve oisci
pline, +no oiscipline implies comm+no +no oLeoience, com
m+noers +no oLeyers, omcers +nopriv+tes. lut tLe l+lseness ol
tL+t +ssumption L+s Leen cle+rly oemonstr+teo. lt v+s cle+rly
oemonstr+teo in tLe tvo vorlo v+rs, tLougL victory L+o tLe
unlortun+te enect olm+king itunnecess+ry lor us to le+rn tLe
lessonsoltL+tconßict.luttLoselessons,vLicLreceiveo+strik
ing confrm+tion intLe :p+nisLCivilV+r, vere not lost onour
enemies,+no tLeir successesinPol+no,inlr+nce,inCreece+no
everyvLere except in Russi+, vLere tLey c+me up +g+inst +n
+rmy tL+tL+o le+rneo tLes+melesson,isouepreciselyto vL+t
migLt Lec+lleotLeoemocr+tiz+tionoltLe+rmy.`
The Russian evidence is not unequivocal: cf. General Drassilnikov, in an article
quoted by A. Werth in Moscow, '41 , p. 8 5 : 'Present-day warfare requires such
enormous moral tension that only the most firmly disciplined troops can face
it, and maintain their fighting powers intact. That is why such drastic steps have
had to be taken towards the final liquidation of the pseudo-democratic tradi­
tions in the army, traditions which only undermined discipline. ' But, accord­
ing to Werth himself, the situation is now very diferent: ' Since the war began,
and since this article was written, the political commissars have, of course, had
their power restored; though not at the expense of the ofcers. Roughly speak­
ing, the ofcer is, as before, responsible for the military operations; but the
political commissar is the man who is in charge of the troops' morale, and,
incidentally, of the ofcer's morale. ' But the commissars were finally abolished
by Stalin' s decree on 1 1 th October 1 942. Commenting on this news, The Times
special correspondent in Moscow observed:
'When the system of political commissars was introduced, the young Red
Army was ofcered by many men whose loyalty to the revolutionary regime
was suspect, and who were only retained in the army because of the shortage
of trained ofcers. Since then, however, the Red Army' s military academies
have created commanders who are completely identifed with the regime and
whose thoughts and language are the same as those of the men they command [my italics] .
There will still be a need for political education in the army. As before, the Red
T H E C U LT OF L EA D E R S H I P 57
:ever+l inoepenoentvitnesses confrmeo tLe genuineness of
tìisprocessoloemocr+tiz+tionintLe Cerm+n+rmy. :Lirer, lor
ex+mpìe,inLisBerlin Diary, reports tL+t.
' Few peopl e who have not seen i t in acti on real i ze how di fer­
ent thi s army is from the one the Kai ser sent hurtl i ng i nto
Bel gi u m and France in 1 91 4 . . . . The great gulf between ofcers
and men i s gone in thi s war. There i s a sort of equal i tari ani sm. I
fel t it from the frst day I came in contact with the army at the
front. The German ofcer no l onger represents-or at l east is
consci ous of representi ng-a cl ass or caste. And the men i n
the ranks feel thi s. They feel l i ke members of one great fami ly.
Even the sal ute has a new meani ng. German pri vates sal ute
each other, thus maki ng the gesture more of a comradel y greet­
i ng than the mere recogni ti on of superi or rank. I n cafes, res­
taurants, di ni ng-cars, offcers and men off duty si t at the same
tabl e and converse as men to men. Thi s woul d have been
unthi nkabl e in the l ast war and is probabl y unusual in the
Army man will be told the significance of the operations in which he i s playing
a part, however small. But the division of duties that was summed up in
M. Stalin' s phrase of 1 9 1 9 that the regimental commissar is the father and soul
of the regiment, while the commander is its will, will no longer be so precise.
The best of the present commissars will become commanders, and all Red
Army commanders will have political aides subordinate to them. '
On the same date ( 1 2th October) The Times reported a further development
in the German army, designed to remove the final traces of class distinction
between the ofcers and their men:
'According to an announcement by the High Command, candidates for
commissioned rank in the German Army need not in future hold a school
leaving certifcate or have attended a particular type of school.
'The essential qualifications, in addition to "character and pure Aryan
blood", are to be "worthiness for army service, readiness to serve Nationalist­
Socialist Germany and its Fuhrer, and idealism".
'The German News Agency remarks that this decision follows Hitler' s
recent declaration that "every man in the National-Socialist army carries a
field-marshal's baton in his knapsack" . '
58 TH E CU LT OF L E A D E R S H I P
armi es of the West, i ncl udi ng our own. I n the fel d, ofcers and
men usual l y eat from the same soup kitchen. ' 6
l oonot v+nt to enter into +n +c+oemic oiscussion oltLe
oistinction Letveen oiscipline +no mor+le. Ve +ll knov tL+t
oiscipline oepenos on tLe exercise ol +utLority. it L+s Leen
oenneo +s ' tLe enlorceo oLeoience to extern+l +utLority +no
notLing c+n oisguise itsLipol+rn+ture+nointern+lstr+in. ltis
sometimes s+io tL+t il oiscipline is tLorougLly enlorceo it
Lecomesinstinctive,LuttL+tisnotLorneouteitLerLypsycLo
logic+l investig+tions or Ly milit+ry experience lt tLus comes
+Lout tL+t even vLile m+int+ining +n unoemocr+tic structure
in tLe +rmy, +no +n unoemocr+tic structure ol society, tLe
present tenoency ol+ll governments is to rely on tLe cre+tion
olmor+le, in tLe civili+n popul+tion no less tL+n in tLe +rmeo
lorces.
Mor+leis+groupleeling.itis +leelingolcoLesion,olunity
intLel+ceolo+nger, +no+tpresentitisnorm+llyonlyLrougLt
+Lout in conoitions ol o+nger, vLen tLe group is tLre+teneo
vitLextinctionTLeseconoitions+reLrougLt+Lout,notonlyLy
v+r,LutLytLre+tsolst+rv+tionorsuLjug+tion.TLemor+leol+
tr+oe union on strike, lor ex+mple, oepenos not so mucL on
politic+lconsciousness,tLeioeologic+lstrugglelorLetterconoi
tionsolvork+noollile, +sontLeoirectleelingolgroup soli
o+rityintLel+ceoltLeinsecurityocc+sioneoLytLestopp+geol
vork.
VL+tis+omir+LleintLep+st +nooesir+LlelortLelutureis+
lormolsocietytL+t succeeosinm+int+iningmor+le-+soistinct
lrom oiscipline-unoer conoitions ol pe+ce TLe leeling ol
rel+teoness, olunion, vLicL ve +ll experience spont+neously
vLen tLre+teneo Ly inv+sion, or +ir r+ios, or tLe Llock+oe,
sLouloLere+lizeolorpositivepurpose,lortLecre+tionol+just
William L. Shirer, Berlin Diary (London, 1 941 ), pp. 345-6.
T H E C U LT O F L E AD E R S H I P 59
society, + n+tur+l v+y ollile. TLere +g+in l tLink tLe l+scist
¸
seizeo on +n essenti+l psycLologic+l trutL-+no oistorteo it Ly
usingitlor tLeirovn enos. TLeyre+lizeotL+t+societyc+nonly
LeLuiltupontLeprincipleol+ssoci+tion.TLeytLereloreL+oto
aLolisLtLeexistingorg+niz+tions,Lec+usetLeyverep+cinst+no
intern+tion+l-tL+t is to s+y, essenti+lly oiEusionist-+no to
repl+ce tLem Ly nev org+niz+tions oesigneo to c+n+lize tLe
nation+l spirit. lut tLey re+lizeo tL+t tLis coulo not Le +ccom-
plisLeo Ly coercion. TLe vLole ol tLeir eouc+tion+l systeµ,
tLeiryoutLmovement,tLeirl+Lourlront+notLeirp+rtyorg+n
iz+tion L+o no otLer +im Lut tLe cre+tion ol+ spirit stronger
tL+noiscipline. luttLemor+letLus+cLieveov+snotlimiteoto
tLe Liologic+l lunction ol group preserv+tion, it v+s tLen
extenoeo to +n ioeologic+llunctionolgroup exp+nsion, group
assertion, group oomin+tion. A oistortion +rose lrom tLe l+ct
tL+t tLe spont+neous origin +no org+nic grovtLol+ssoci+tion
v+stLus oLliter+teo, Leing repl+ceo Ly +n +rtinci+l+no super
imposeo conception ol tLe st+te, Ly + nev oroer vLicL v+s
essenti+lly+pl+nneooroer.
Ve sLoulo +lv+ys cle+rly oistinguisL Letveen tLe +ims +no
tLe metLoos ol l+scism. TLe +ims +re entirely unoemocr+tic,
irr+tion+l +noirresponsiLle. lut some oltLemetLoos-Ly no
me+ns +ll-+re more oemocr+tic, morepsycLologic+lly eEect-
ive, +no +ltogetLer more successlul, tL+ntLemetLoosLitLerto
useo Ly tLe oemocr+cies. Lven in tLis m+tterolle+oersLip, tLe
N+zisinp+rticul+r+voioeotLepsycLologic+lcruoitiesvLicLve
not only +ttriLuteo to tLem, Lut innocently imit+telt seems to
me-+nol+mm+inlyrelyingonvL+tHitlerLimsellL+svritten
in Mein Kampf, +no on Lis l+ter speecLes +no person+l
LeL+viour-tL+tintLeirre+liz+tionoltLesupremeimport+nce
olmor+letLeN+zis+oopteo+conceptionolle+oersLipr+oic+lly
oiEerent lrom tL+t entert+ineo in our puLlic scLools +no
milit+rylorces.TLeoiEerenceisr+tLer+suLtleone, Lut+tle+st
wemustgiveHitlersomecreoitlorsuLtlety.
60 T H E C U LT OF L E A D E RS H I P
ln Lis vell-knovn vork on Psychology and Primitive Culture,
Prolessor l+rtlett oiscusses tLe rel+tionsLip oltLe cLielto tLe
primitivegroup,+nopointsouttL+t.
'it is a rel ati onshi p in whi ch l eadershi p does not depend mai nl y
upon domi nati on or asserti on, but upon a ready suscepti bi l i ty
to the thoughts, feel i ngs and acti ons of the members of the
group. The chi ef, that i s, expresses the group rather than
impresses i t. Thi s i s a ki nd of rel ati onshi p, enti rel y di fferent, it
seems to me, from domi nance and assertiveness . . . . '
'A re+oy susceptiLility to tLe tLougLts, leelings +no +ctions
oltLe memLers oltLe group-tLis pLr+se migLt Le t+ken +s
+n +pt oescription ol tLe very qu+lity vLicL Hitler cl+ims to
possess' No unpre|uoiceo oLserver ol Lis c+reer c+n oeny
Hitler + cert+in represent+tive cL+r+cter-tLougL ve must
'Owing to the peculiar circumstances of my life, I am perhaps more capable
than anyone else of understanding and realizing the nature and the whole life
of the various German castes. Not because I have been able to look down on
this life from above but because I have participated in it, because I stood in the
midst of this life, because Fate, in a moment of caprice or perhaps fulfilling the
designs of Providence, cast me into the great mass of the people, among com­
mon folk. Because I myself was a labouring man for years in the building trade
and had to earn my own bread. And because for a second time I took my place
once again as an ordinary soldier amongst the masses, and because then life
raised me into other strata (Schichten) of our own people, so that I know these,
too, better than countless others who were born in these strata. So Fate has
perhaps fi tted me more than any other to be the broker-! think I may say the
honest broker-for both sides alike' (Speech of l Oth May 1 93 3 : op cit. , vol. i.
p. 862). It is this pose of 'honest broker' which distinguishes Hitler from most
of the leaders of the past and all those of the present. The democratic leaders
(Churchill, Roosevelt) generally come from the upper strata, but if they do
come from the same level as Hitler (Ramsay MacDonald, for example) they
either make a virtue of their origins or despise them. Hitler is unique, I think,
in trying to maintain this pose of 'an independent man' .
T H E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P 61
rem
emLer tL+t + oem+gogue vill +lv+ys LeginLycre+ting tLe
diss+tisl+ction vLicL Le tLen sets out to exploit He e+rns Lis
e+siestLonours Ly +llevi+tingim+gin+ryills. lutitis no oroin
+ry l+culty vLicL en+Lles + m+n to oo tL+t Ag+in let me
empL+size tL+t ve +re concerneo vitL +n instrument +no not
witL tLe use to vLicL it is put. lntuition, to use lor tLe
momenttLe termHitlerLimselluseoto l+vour-intuitionm+y
Le +n+omir+Llequ+lityin+r+tion+lLum+nLeing, +LeneEcent
+io to tLe poet, +no scientist +no tLe engineer, Lut tLe s+me
qu+lity comLineo vitL + s+oistic cr+ving lorpoverLecomes +
oestructivelorce
lrepe+t,tLerelore,tL+tvemustnotunoerestim+tetLem:tLeis,
+s opposeo to tLe motives oll+scism. TLe motives +re tLe inoi
viou+ìlustlorpover+no tLer+ci+llust lorvorlooomin+tion,
LuttLe metLoos,vLicLincluoev+r,persecution,Lrut+lity+no
Lesti+lity ol+ll kinos, +ìso incluoe tLe est+LlisLment ol group
unity +no oevotion to + common ioe+l-le+tures vLicL ve
+ssume +re essenti+lly oemocr+tic. ' ll , s+ys Hitler tov+ros tLe
eno olMein Kampf, ' ilin itsListoric+l oevelopmenttLe Cerm+n
peopleL+opossesseotLisgroupunity+sitv+sen|oyeoLyotLer
peoples, tLentLeCerm+nReicLvoulotoo+yproL+LlyLemis
tressoltLe gloLe` . AnoLes+yselsevLereintLes+meLooktL+t
vitLtLeAry+n tLe instinctlorsellpreserv+tionL+o re+cLeo its
noLlest lorm 'Lec+useLevillinglysuL|ects Lisovnego to tLe
ìileoltLecommunity,+no,iltLeLoursLoulorequireit,Le+lso
s+cricesit .
llonly,onec+nnotLelptLinking, sucL+leelinglorunity+no
seìls+criEcecouloL+veLeenoevoteoto sometLingnoLlertL+n
tLeconquestolinoiviou+ìpover+nor+ci+loomin+tion.luttL+t
is to ignore tLe re+lity oltLe neurosis lromvLicL tLe lust lor
pover springs. TLe extr+oroin+ry success ol Hitler v+s oue to
thel+cttL+tLiss+oom+socListicimpulses,vLicL+reexpl+ineo
Lyhisperson+lListory-tLelrustr+teo+rtist, oivorceolromLis
ovn cl+ss +no re|ecteo Ly tLe cl+ss Le +spireo to, tLe typic+l
62 T H E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P
isol+teo, oecl+sseo inoiviou+l in vLom tLe s+oistic neurosis
oevelops most strongly-tLe extr+oroin+ry success olsucL +n
inoiviou+lv+souetotLel+cttL+tLisperson+lneurosisisrepre
sent+tive oltLe collective neurosis ol+ n+tion vLicL L+s +lso
leen lrustr+teo in its oesire lor exp+nsion, its oesire lor +
superior positionintLe society oln+tions ln tLeirm+socListic
longingssucL+peopleville+gerlysulmittotLe+lsolutepover
ol + le+oer +no vill only require one lilerty in return-tLe
lilertytos+tislytLes+oisticsioeoltLeirneurosislytLepersecu
tionolsomeminority, someoegr+oeocl+ssHencetLeimport
+nt p+rt pl+yeo ly +nti-:emitism in tLe evolution ol Cerm+n
l+scism.
lLopelL+ve sLovn tL+t+ o+ngerous+mliguitylurks intLis
cry lor le+oersLip, tLis reli+nce on + popul+r le+oer, vLicL
cL+r+cterizes oemocr+tic no less tL+n l+scist communities in
time olv+r. lt is, l lelieve, not merely + sign olve+kness, +
sign olv+r-ve+riness. itis positively tLe symptom ol+ l+tent
st+te oll+scism.lloemocr+cy isto m+int+in its essenti+loiEer·
encelroml+scism,itmustnotcompromiseontLisquestionol
le+oersLip. Ie+oersLip, in tLe sense ol tLe oomin+nce ol tLe
community ly + single Egure, or + minority, is tLe +cknov-
leogeoprinciple oll+scism. VL+t, olcourse, rem+ins in ooult
isvLetLer oemocr+cy, +s + milit+nt org+niz+tion, c+n oispense
vitL tLis principle. VL+t ve neeo, ve +re tolo every o+y, is
more +no letterle+oersLip.lutvL+t tLisoem+noinvolves is +
closer +no closer +pproxim+tion to l+scism. TLe l+scists +lone
L+ve evolveo +n eßcient lorm ol le+oersLip. eßcient le+oer
sLip is l+scism. Opposeo to tLe principle olle+oersLip tLere is
notLing lut tLe principle olequ+lity. Lqu+lity is +lsolute, too,
it is + m+tLem+tic+l term, expressing ex+ct qu+ntities. lt ooes
not +omit olcompromise, +novLenever l Le+r + person t+m
pering vitL tLis principle in tLe n+me ol eßciency, or ol
+lility, tLen l knov l +m in tLe presence ol+ l+scist. You m+y
s+y ilyou like tL+t equ+lity is not r+tion+l-tL+t since people
TH E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P 63
+re notlornequ+l,notequ+llyenooveolyn+ture,° tL+t tLere�
fore tLey oonotoeserve to live equ+lly. lutl oonotcl+imtL+t
tLeprincipleolequ+lityis+ r+tion+l ooctrine.OntLe contr+ry,
it
is +n irr+tion+l oogm+, + mjsti¡a:. lt l+ys oovn, precisely
bec+use people +re lorn unequ+l, unequ+lly enooveo, tLey
sLoulo in tLe common interest +cknovìeoge + common
oenomin+tor-+st+no+roolcitizensLip to vLicL+ll c+n+spire,
+no leyonovLicL none sL+ll venture. l s+y quite oeliler+tely
tL+t unlessve +re inspireo ly tL+t mystic+l or mytLic+l ioe+ol
soci+l equ+lity, ve c+n not +no ve oo not lelieve in tLe
brotLerLoooolm+n.
lltLisoogm+is+ccepteo,tLepr+ctic+lquestionrem+ins. Lov
is it given expression in tLe org+niz+tion ol + mooern com
munity?lern+ro :L+v, vLo s+v tLe necessity lor tLis oogm+,
suggesteotL+titc+nonlylegivenpr+ctic+lexpressioninequ+l
ity olincomes TL+t, olcourse, is to rem+inlouno to tLe con-
cept oleconomic m+n, vLicLisinevit+llein+n olol+sLioneo
i+li+n soci+listlike:L+v. Lqu+lityolincomemigLtvellletLe
outv+ro expression olequ+lity olst+tus, lut invL+totLer, in
vL+tmoreluno+ment+lv+ys, c+nequ+lityleexpresseo?
lt iscurioustL+tve sLouloL+ve to se+rcL lor +n +nsver to
tLis question, lec+use in spite oleconomic +no soci+l inequ+l-
itiesveinLngl+noL+veintLeory+notosomeextentinpr+ctice
enj oyeovL+tve c+ll ' equ+lity lelore tLe l+v' . L+vsmigLt le
Matthew Arnold, on the other hand, argues that the love of equality is a
natural expression of the instinct of expansion. ' A thousand arguments may be
discovered in favour of inequality, just as a thousand arguments may be dis­
covered in favour of absolutism. And the one insuperable objection to inequal­
ity is the same as the one insuperable objection to absolutism: namely, that
inequality, like absolutism, thwarts a vital instinct, and being thus against
nature, is against our humanization. ' But a further remark shows that his
argument is essentialy the same as the one used above: 'On the one side, in
fact, inequality harms by pampering; on the other, by vulgarizing and depress­
ing. A system founded on it is against nature, and in the long run breaks
down. '-Mixed Essa
y
s ( 1 87 9) .
64 TH E C U LT OF L E A D E RS H I P
unj ust, +no tLe expression ol soci+l prejuoices r+tLer tL+n ol
n+tur+lequity,nevertLeless,lorcenturies+l+ir+ttemptL+s Leen
m+oeto+oministertLemequ+llyto+llmen.´lnl+ct,youc+nnot
oivorcetLeioe+oll+vlromtLeioe+olequity,+notL+tissucL+
commonpl+ce-sucL + logic+l conception, +s some migLt s+y,
sucL+ tr+oition, +s otLers migLt s+y-tL+tve l+ilto +ppreci+te
tLel+cttL+titisLynome+ns+ninevit+Llest+teol+E+irs.Unoer
l+scismves+v+contr+ryconceptionoll+vemerging-onel+v
lor tLe Cerm+ns +no +notLer l+v lor tLe r+ces tLey L+o suL
jug+teo,onel+vlorAry+ns+no+notLerl+vlor]evs.Lventu+lly
Hitler secureo tLelorm+l +Lrog+tion olleg+l proceoureinCer
m+ny, +nom+oeLisperson+lvillsuperiortotLeioe+olequity.
TLe soci+lLier+rcLytL+tve +ccept +lmost +s +n+tur+loroeris
just+sunn+tur+l+noillogic+l+sonel+vlortLericL+no+nolLer
lortLepoor, or+sone l+vlortLeCerm+ns+no+notLerlor tLe
conquereo Poles. TLere is no nataml +ristocr+cy-tLougL tLere
c+nLe+nunn+tur+lly cultiv+teo +ristocr+cy, +peoigree stockol
Lum+nLeingsnoless tL+n +peoigreestockolc+ttle. TLe upper
cl+sses +no tLe mioole cl+sses, tLe upper mioole +no tLe lover
mioole +no tLe vorking cl+sses-none ol tLese is + cl+ss
oro+ineo Ly n+ture-tLey +re +ll expressions ol economic
inequ+lities, inequ+lities tL+t L+ve sometimes l+steo lor gener
+tions. TLey vere continu+lly oisturLeo, not only Ly sLilting
lortunes, Lut Ly tL+t oispl+cement vLicL sociologists c+ll tLe
circul+tion olelit:s, + process vLicL merely expresses tLe Lio
logic+ll+cttL+tluxury+nol+zinessvillintLeenooeLilit+tetLe
cl+ssvLicLenjoystLem,+notL+ttLiscl+ssvillsink+noitspl+ce
Let+kenLy+cl+ssvLicLL+sleo+Le+ltLierlile. luttLecircul+-
tionoldit:s-+nioe+verypopul+rvitLl+scistpLilosopLers-is
In so far as they are administered! I am well aware that some people cannot
aford ' to go to law' , but this injustice is economic and not legal. It should also
be clear that I am referring to law as administered in Great Britain, and not to
the administration of law in, for example, Spain.
T H E C U LT O F L E A D E RS H I P 65
+lsonot+n+tur+lpLenomenon.Atle+st,itisnomore ' n+tur+l'
tL+ntLe circul+tion olv+terin+ Loiling kettle. itis +n expres
sionolinequ+litiesinsoci+llile-inequ+litiesolvork+nonour
isLment+norecre+tion.Lqu+lizetLetemper+tureolv+ter+noit
no longer circul+tes, equ+lize soci+l conoitions, let everyLooy
ìe+o+Le+ltLylile, +notLenyouvillno longer get +circul+tion
oldite.
Ano tLere tLe l+scist pLilosopLer-+no some pLilosopLers
wLo c+ll tLemselves oemocr+ts-tLink tLey L+ve got you. Al,
tLey s+y,nocircul+tion-tL+tme+nsst+gn+tion' Anost+gn+tion
me+ns oec+y' V+r is ¡ustifeo Ly sucL people solely on tLese
grounos-tL+t itprevents soci+l st+gn+tion +no encour+ges tLe
emergenceolvit+lstock.AconvincingrLetoric+l+ttituoec+nLe
struckiltLecircul+tionmet+pLorism+int+ineo.lutitismerely
+ngureolspeecL,+mytL.VLy+lltLisLuLLleLuLLle, toil+no
trouLle? Does notn+ture oner us +ltern+tive met+pLors olL+l
+nce +no symmetry, olpoise +no repose? TLe Lestlruit grovs
ontLe sLeltereov+ll.TLeoeepestv+ters+restill.To +minotL+t
is still, tLevLoleuniversesurrenoers.Hove+syitistofno, or
invent, convincing met+pLors ol ex+ctly tLe opposite tenor.
CLinese pLilosopLy is lull ol tLem. TLe universe is lull ol
tLem.lknovtL+ttLescientistc+npresent+lrigLtlulpictureol
disintegr+ting vorlos, ol explooing suns +no cooling pl+nets,
oln+ture reoin tootL+no cl+v. luttLemostluno+ment+l ois
coveries ol science +re oiscoveries ol signifc+nt oesign. tLe
periooicity ol tLe elements, tLe structure ol molecules, tLe
univers+ll+vs unoerlying org+nic lorms-tLese+rel+ctsvLicL
+nyre+son+Llem+nvillm+ketLeL+sisol+positivepLilosopLy.
l+o Tzu, tLe Cre+t CLinese s+ge, lormul+teo tLree rules ol
politic+l visoom, vLicL requireo. ¸ l ) +Lstention lrom +ggres
sivev+r+noc+pit+lpunisLment, ¸!)+Lsolutesimplicityolliv
ing, +no ¸?) relus+l to +ssert+ctive +utLority. TLesetLreerules
express tLe trueme+ning olsoci+lequ+lity.TLeyimplytL+tno
m+nL+stLe rigLtto +ssertLis+utLorityover+notLerm+n,+no
66 T H E C U LT OF L E A D E R S H I P
tL+tlikevisenon+tionL+s tLerigLtto +ssertits+utLorityover
+notLern+tion.llnosucLrigLtisexerciseo,Lyinoiviou+lsorLy
n+tions, tLen + st+te ol politic+l equ+lity c+n exist. As lor tLe
seconorule,vLicLenjoinssimpleliving,tL+ttoo is not remote
lrom tLe concept olequ+lity. lor tLe economic complexity ol
tLemooernvorlo, involving economicLier+rcLies+noinequ+l·
ities ol income, involving +n economic conception ol m+n
Limsell-living m+n reouceo to + commooity, like lrozen
mutton-tLisisentirelyouetotLeleverisLlustlorluxuries.TLe
ruleooesnotoenyusplenty.onlyLetL+tislrug+listruly+Lleto
Le proluse,s+ysL+oTzu.lnoeeo,unlesstLere is plenty,equ+lity
c+n onìy Le m+int+ineo Ly +utLority, +no since ve renounce
+utLority,ve sLouloensureplenty. Trotskyonce expresseo tLe
vLole trutL in + vivio v+y. lltLere is + sc+rcity ol gooos in
tLe sLops, people vill lorm queues, +no iltLere +re queues in
tLe streets, you vill L+ve to L+ve police to keep tLem in oroer.
L+v,vemigLts+y,is+nexpressionolv+nt.
lut it is time l Leg+n to or+v tLese oLserv+tions to some
conclusion. l L+ve Leen questioning tLe cult ol le+oersLip.
l +ssert tL+t it is + oeni+l ol tLe principle ol equ+lity. As +
counterp+rt to tLis cult olle+oersLip ve lno + st+te olsoci+ì
irresponsiLility, tovLicLl migLtL+veoevoteomoresp+ce.lut
tLe symptoms olsuLmissiveness, olletL+rgy +no +p+tLy, neeo
nooescription.lsLouloliketopointout,Lovever, tL+ttLey+re
not conlneo to tLe politic+lly ignor+nt-l knov ol no more
ois+strousex+mpleolirresponsiLility tL+n tLeLeL+viouroltLe
tr+oe unions ouring tLe p+st tLirty ye+rs. Not only L+ve tLey
repe+teoly l+ileo to +cLieve intern+tion+l unity +mong tLe
vorkers ol tLe vorlo. tLey L+ve Leen +lr+io to +ssume tLe
responsiLilities vitLin tLeir gr+sp +tLome. l L+ve mysellLe+ro
one oltLe le+oing tr+oe union omci+ls lrom Tr+nsport House
oecl+re tL+ttLe unions L+onottLenecess+rym+n+geri+l+Lility
to control tLeir ovn inoustries, +no tL+t tLerelore tLeir policy
TH E C U LT O F L E A D E R S H I P 67
pust Le one olcompromise +no joint control vitL tLe em
ployers.TL+tisoneinst+nceolvL+tlme+nLyirresponsiLility,
+noperL+psitoeserves+strongervoro.
Collective responsiLility is tLe +ltern+tive to le+oersLip, +no
tLecounterp+rtolequ+lity. lle+cLinoiviou+lintLesoci+lLooy
is + responsiLle memLer ol tL+t Looy tLere is no neeo lor
extern+l control. TLe Looy +cts +s +n org+nic vLole, +no +cts
spont+neously.TLememLersoltLe Looypolitic +re, olcourse,
oinerenti+teo +ccoroing to tLeirlunction. one is + l+rmer +no
+notLer +n engineer, one + nurse +no +notLer + ooctor, +no
+mong tLese memLers +re some vLose lunction is to co
oroin+teotLers.TLese+retLeorg+nizers, tLe+oministr+tors+no
tLem+n+gersvLo +reessenti+lto+complic+teoinoustri+lsoci
ety, Lut l see no re+son vLy tLe cooroin+tor sLoulo Le more
LigLlypl+ceoormoreLigLlyp+io tL+n tLe origin+tor, tLe cre
+tor, tLevorker. TLem+n+gerovesLispresentst+tus +nopres-
tige,nottotLen+tureolLisvork,LuttoLisimmeoi+tecontrol
ol tLe instruments ol proouction. ln +ny n+tur+l society Le
vouloLe+sunoLtrusive+s+r+ilv+ysign+l-m+ninLisLox. ' '
Í person+lly Lelieve tL+t lile sLoulo Le immensely
simplileo-tL+t mucL oltLe complexity olmooern society is
merelytLeln+lcomplic+tionoltLesicknessvec+llciviliz+tion.
lutevenourel+Lor+tesocietyc+nLe+lunction+lsociety, +nol
seeno re+sonvLy +lllunctions, vLicL +reequ+llynecess+ryto
tLeLe+ltLolsociety,sLoulonotL+vesoci+lequ+lity.TL+t,+t+ny
r+te, is tLe proper me+ning olcommunism, +no in tLis sense
communism, tLe communism ol lropotkin +no not tL+t ol
M+rx,istLeonly+ltern+tivetol+scism.
Cr+nteo +lltLis, my criticsvill+sk. Lovvillyou c+rryon?
·omeLooy must lormul+te pl+ns, oecioe on policy, m+ke
1 0
The pretensions of this group to form a new governing class, so ably ana­
lysed by James Burnham in The Managerial Revolution (London, 1 9 4 2) , are ð
inevitable consequence of the cult of leadership in a machine civilization.
68 TH E C U LT O F L EA D E R S H I P
oecisionsonLeLalloltLevLolecommunity.lagree,anovould
nov like to recall tLe oistinction Letveen tvo kinos olleaoer·
sLip maoe Ly Prolessor lartlett, vLicL i quoteo earlier in tLis
essay, Letveen tLe kino ol leaoer vLo impresses tLe group Ly
asserting Lis autLority, ano tLe kinovLo expresses tLe group Ly
LeingsusceptiLletotLeirtLougLts,leelingsanooesires.lt is tLis
secono kino olleaoer, ano only tLis kino olleaoer, vLo Las a
placeina communityollreepeople.AnovLoistLeleaoer tLat
expressestLetLougLts,leelingsanooesiresoltLepeople-·Lo
Lut tLe poetano artist?TLatis tLe conclusionl LaveLeenleao
ing up to. lt is not a nev ioea-it is tLe conclusion tLat Plato
came to, anotLat:Lelley reviveointLis country. tLeioeatLatit
is tLe man olimagination, tLe poetanopLilosopLer aLove all,
Lut equally tLemanvLo canpresentioeasintLevisualimages
ol painting ano sculpture or tLrougL tLe still more enective
meoium ol orama-tLe ioea tLat it is tLis inoivioual vLom
societysLouloacceptasitsonlyleaoer.Not,olcourse,atLisovn
valuation. Plato pointeo out certain oangers tLat vere to Le
avoioeoatallcosts.lortLerearegoooartistsanoLaoartists,ano
Laoartistsare almostmore oangeroustLanLaopoliticians.Any
lruitlul analysisolHitler,lorexample,mustLeginvitLtLe Lao
artist ratLer tLan tLe amLitious politician. A lree people must
tLereloreLeaLigLlycriticalpeople.:ucLapeopleooesnotexist
at present, in tLis or any otLer country, ano it can only Le
LrougLtinto existenceLyaneoucationanoanenvironmenttLat
places lrst tLings lrst-tLat oiscounts pover ano money ano
competitionano all tLe evil oistortions tLey cause inour social
structureanoeoucationalioeals.
TLeevilvLicLisamongus,vovenintotLesuLstanceolour
lile, makingusunvortLyolequalityano incapaLleolacLieving
a true oemocracy, is tLe evil olassertiveness-tLe assertiveness
oltLe loreman ano tLe Loss, oltLe captain ano tLe statesman.
lut it is tLe assertiveness exerciseo on tLe cLilo vLicL is tLe
main evil , lor tLis oestroys tLe unloloing sensiLility onvLicL
TH E C U LT OF L EA D E RS H I P 69
tasteanojuogementsLoulorest,anoplantsinitssteaotLeseeos
olsaoismanomasocLism.ConsioeronlytLeassertivenessoltLe
teacLer,vLosignilcantlyclaimstLetitleolmaster. HeistLelrst
pooellor tLe Lully, ano tLe early inspirationoltLe tyrant.ltis
Le vLo passes on Lis creeo olleaoersLip to tLe captain oltLe
team ano tLe Leao oltLe class. it is LevLo poisons innocent
minosvitLprioeanoamLition.HovcanveexpectaliLertarian
society vLen our eoucational system is tLrougLout organizeo
onessentiallyautLoritarianprinciples?Letusintroouceequality
into our scLools, ask our teacLers to Le guioes ano comraoes
ratLer tLanmasters anoLeaomasters, anotLenve sLall at least
laytLelounoationsolacommunityorganicallylree.
' No trace olslavery ougLtto mixvitLtLestuoiesola lree
Lorn man. ' TLose voros olPlato sLoulo Le carveo aLove tLe
ooors ol all our scLools ano universities, lor tLey express tLe
only conoition on vLicL a community ol lree men can Le
lounoeo.
æ
5

A CIVI LIZATION FROM UNDER
For the most part we shall be too busy doing the work that lies
ready to our hands, to let impatience for visibly great progress
vex us too much; but surely, since we are servants of a Cause,
hope must be ever with us, and sometimes perhaps it will so
quicken our vision that it will outrun the slow lapse of time
and show us the victorious days when millions of those who
now sit in darkness will be enlightened by an PH made by the
people and for the people, a joy to the maker and the user.
William Morris, The Beauty ofLie.
Cert+ingener+lproLlemsconnecteovitLtLesoci+llunctionsol
tLe +rtist teno to Le neglecteo Lec+use tLey +re not pr+ctic+l
proLlemsoloesigninrel+tiontop+rticul+roLjects orp+rticul+r
inoustries. lntLe oroin+rycourseoloiscussion ve simpìily tLe
l+ctors involveo. Ve tLink ol tLe oLject to Le oesigneo-
sometLing simple+nocompreLensiLle enougL.Ve tLinkoltLe
oesigner-+n inoiviou+l vLo L+s to Le LrougLt into rel+tion
vitL tLis oLject. Ve tLink ol tLe m+nul+cturer, +g+in +s +n
inoiviou+l vLo L+s to Le persu+oeo to employ tLe oesigner,
+no perL+ps, il ve +re consioer+te enougL, ve tLink ol tLe
A C I V I L I ZATI O N F R OM U N D E R 71
consumer,+g+in+s+ninoiviou+lvLoL+stoLepersu+oeotoLuy
tLe oLject oesigneo. lt tLen looks like + simple series ollinks
vìicL L+ve only to Le m+oe +v+re ole+cL otLer to lorm +n
unLrokencL+in.
lut it isnot so simple in re+lity.]ust +s tLe economistslno
tì+t tLeir economic m+n-tLe RoLinson Crusoe ol tLe
textLooks-L+slittleorno corresponoenceto tLem+ssm+nol
mooern society, so ve oiscover tL+t our oesigner, our m+nu
l+cturer +no our consumer c+nnot Le consioereo +s isol+teo
units. TLey +re +ll p+rt ol + soci+ì complex vLicL c+nnot Le
oism+ntleo-vLicL+oosuptosometLingmoretL+ntLesumol
itscomponentunits.
ln tLe enoitturnsouttL+tve +renotoe+lingvitLsingleor
simple units ol +ny kino, Lut vitL soci+l groups, voc+tion+l
groups, n+tion+l groups, +no in gener+l vitL vL+t ve c+ll
psycLologic+lorioeologic+ll+ctors-L+Lits+nol+sLionsvLicL
ì+ve tLeirrootsintr+oition,insuperstition,intLeunconscious
levelsoltLeLum+nperson+lity.
ltm+y +ll Le expresseo in tLe olo proverL. ' You m+y t+ke +
Lorse to tLe trougL, Lut you c+nnot m+ke Lim orink. ` All our
eEortsto improveoesign+reuselessunlessvec+npersu+oetLe
puLlic to +oopt tLem.lut tL+t ooes not express tLe re+l neces
sity. Ve oo notpersuade tLe Lorse to orink, itorinksvLen it is
tLirsty.TLeremust+riseintLepuLlic, tLerelore,+n+tur+l+ppe
tite lor tLings ol gooo oesign. TL+t +ppetite must exist +s +
norm+lst+teolLe+ltL.
Nov tLe oogm+ to vLicL l cling, +no lor vLicL l coulo il
necess+ryoEerpsycLologic+l+noLiologic+levioence,istL+ttLe
instinctlorvL+tve c+ll gooo oesignis+ninn+tepossessionol
every unspoiltLum+nLeing. lt is one oltLe ironies olListory
tL+t +ll tLe cycles ol civiliz+tion still le+ve tLe s+v+ge +no tLe
pe+s+ntinpossessionoltLesurestinstinctlortLeluno+ment+lly
rigLt pl+stic lorms. TLese primitives L+venot gotvL+tve c+ll
tLe Lr+ins to oesign+ motorc+r or+ se+sioep+vilion,LuttLey
æ
72 A C I V I L I ZAT I ON F R OM U N D E R
neverl+iltom+ke+goooj oLol+Lovlor+L+sket,+Ll+nketor+
Lo+t.
lt is logic+l to concluoe, tLerelore, tL+titis+ll+ questionol
eouc+tion-tL+t ilve c+nLring up our cLiloreninsucL+ v+y
tL+t tLeir t+ste is not corrupteo, tLen tLis n+tur+l instinct lor
gooo oesignvillL+velreepl+y+no gr+ou+llytLevLole t+ste ol
ourtime+nocountryvillLepurileo.
ArigLtsystemoleouc+tionis,+omitteoly,goingtoLeoneol
tLe princip+l +gents olrelorm, Lut tLe moment you +ppro+cL
tLis +spect ol tLe proLlem vitL +ny pr+ctic+l intention, you
encounter overvLelming oimculties. lt is not + question ol
squeezing in +n extr+ Lour lor +rt, or olm+king L+noicr+lt +
compulsoryinste+ool+noption+l suLject,itisnoteven+ques
tion ollnoingte+cLers vitLtLenecess+ryqu+lilc+tions. llve
+re goingtosolvetLeproLlemintLisv+yvesL+llLe l+ceovitL
tLenecessityolrevising tLe curricul++teveryst+ge oltLe eou·
c+tion+l system, Lec+use not only must ve secure time +no
opportunitylortLe¡esitir.te+cLingolgooooesign,Lutvemust
+lsom+kesure tL+tnoneg+tive +nolrustr+ting tenoencies exist
elsevLere in tLe eouc+tion+l system. ln otLer voros, it is no
gooo oeveloping tLe cre+tive +no +ppreci+tive exercise ol tLe
+estLeticimpulsein tLe cLiloil+t tLe s+me time insomeotLer
oirectionourmetLoosolte+cLing+re inLiLiting +nooelorming
tLisimpulse.TLevLoleL+l+nceoleouc+tion,+sLetveenintel
lectu+l+noinstinctive +ctivity, mustLereoresseo.Letuslr+nkly
l+ce tLe l+ct tL+t tLejoylul expression olrLytLm +noL+rmony
+no colour L+s notLing vL+tever to oo vitL logic, re+son +no
memory+notLerestolourintellectu+lletisLes.i+mnot+n+nti
intellectu+list. l oo not s+y tL+t ve L+o Letter trust to our
instinctsin+lltLe+E+irsollile. lutloos+ytL+toureouc+tion+l
system is grossìy overveigLteovitL intellectu+l +ims, tL+t tLis
r+tion+liz+tionoltLecLiloL+s+stultilyingeEectonits+estLetic
impulse+noisoirectìyresponsiLlelortLetriumpLoluglinessin
our+ge.
A C I V I L I ZATI ON F R OM U N D E R 73
luttLeeouc+tion+loimcultiesoonotenovitLtL+timmense
proLlem. Ve m+y eouc+te tLe cLilo in scLool, Lut outsioe tLe
scLool +notLer eouc+tion+l process goes on +ll tLe time-tLe
inßuenceoltLecLilo' senvironment.TLereisno gooopurpose
inoevelopingtLecre+tive+no+ppreci+tiveimpulsesintLecLilo
il+t tLe s+me time ve compelittoinL+Litugly scLools, to go
Lome tLrougL ugly streets +no to live in +n ugly Louse sur
rounoeo Ly ugly oLjects. Ano so, insensiLly ve +re leo to tLe
vioer soci+lproLlem. Louc+tion+lonevillnot sumce, Lecause
eouc+tion c+n only Lep+rti+l+no isperL+psimpossiLleintLe
cì+osoluglinessvLicLtLeinoustri+l+geL+scre+teo.
ltissucLconsioer+tions +s tLesevLicLm+yvellle+oto tLe
conclusiontL+tno goooc+n Le oone intLis spLereunless +no
until tLe soci+l system is cL+ngeo. TL+tseems to LetLe logic+l
+no inevit+Lle conclusion to vLicL ve +re oriven. lut +t tLe
s+metimeveL+vetogu+ro+g+insttLe+ssumptiontL+tveL+ve
onlytocL+ngetLe soci+lsystemtosecureour+ims.
Anyl+rge intern+tion+l exLiLition is very instructive in tLis
respect.TLereve seeoispl+yeosioe Ly sioe tLe inoustri+l +rtol
+lltLecountriesoltLevorlo.ltispossiLletocriticizetLeoispl+y
+nos+ytL+toneor+notLerp+vilion ooes notrepresent tLeLest
tL+t+p+rticul+rn+tionisc+p+Lleoílutin+nyc+seenougLvill
Le seen to est+LlisL cert+in gener+l conclusions ol+ neg+tive
kino. it is quite impossiLle to lno +ny l+v olcorresponoence
LetveentLe+rtisticleveloltLeproouctsoltLecountriesrepre
senteo+notLeirsoci+lorpolitic+linstitutions. ltisnotpossiLle
to s+y tL+t oLviously tLe tot+lit+ri+n st+tes +re m+king + Letter
joL olinoustri+l oesign tL+n tLe oemocr+tic st+tes, nor +pp+r
entlytom+ke+nycorrel+tionsLetveen+rt+nopolitics.TLeLest
oesignsol+ll,perL+ps, comelromtLesm+lloemocr+ticLutstill
c+pit+listst+tesolHoll+no, ·veoen+nolinl+no.luttLougLve
migLt qu+rrel in oet+il +Lout tLe rel+tive merits oltLe v+rious
n+tion+l exLiLits in sucL +n exLiLition, l tLink ve sLoulo +ll
+gree on tLepointl +m concerneo to m+ke. tL+t no p+rticul+r
74 A C I V I L I ZAT I ON F R OM U N D E R
soci+l system-communism, l+scism or c+pit+lism-vill
necess+rilyof i tsef gu+r+nteegooooesigninoLjectsolo+ilyuse.
ltissimpleenougLtotr+cem+nyoltLein+rtistic +no oec+
oent qu+lities in tLe tLings ve m+ke +no use to tLe prev+iling
inoustri+l system. TLe m+teri+l conoitions ol poverty vLicL
m+ny people support tLrougLout tLeir lives, tLel+ck olleisure
+noconsequenti+l oullness +no ignor+nce-tLese +re tLe soci+l
+spects oltLe system vLicLprevent+ny element olqu+lity or
oiscrimin+tionenteringintoo+ilylile. ltis+lsopossiLleto+rgue
tL+t tLe very system in its +ctu+l mecL+nism +lso prevents tLe
emergenceolqu+lity-LytLeoivisionoll+Lour, m+ss metLoos
olproouction, economies in m+teri+l oem+noeo Ly tLe uni
vers+lproftmotive. lutinl+irness itmustLepointeo out tL+t
tLesystem,evenunoeritspresenteconomicmotiv+tion,c+n+no
ooesproouce m+ny oLjects vLicL L+ve +estLetic qu+lities, +no
tL+t ve m+yl+ilto perceivetLesequ+litiesLec+useolour+nti
inoustri+l prejuoices. l reler to tLe +eropl+nes +no motorc+rs
+no otLer typic+l prooucts ol tLe mooern inoustri+l system
vLicL +re Ly no me+ns oevoio ol tLose elements ol Le+uty
vLicL ve lno in cl+ssic+l +rt. l oo not visL to insist on tLis
+spectoltLequestion,LutitsLouloservetov+rnustL+ttLereis
no necess+ry connection Letveen tLe economic +no even tLe
etLic+l cL+r+cteristics ol+n inoustri+l system +no tLe +estLetic
meritsoltLeproouctsoltL+tsystem.
letus turnlor +momentto tLepositive evioenceonereoLy
tLec+seolRussi+.lnone v+st inoustri+l+re+,+mountingtoone
sixtLoltLevorlo, tLeoloeconomic systemL+sLeenoestroyeo
Lyrevolution+no+ neveconomic systemL+s Leenest+LlisLeo
vLicL gr+ou+lly elimin+teo tLe prolt motive +no g+ve tLe
vorkers ol Russi+ inoirect control oltLe processes olproouc-
tion.TLetecLnic+lle+turesolc+pit+listproouctionrem+in, +no
L+veevenLeenintensileo.Divisionoll+Lour+nom+ssproouc
tion rem+in. TLere is still little leisure, +no tLougL tLere is no
longer +cute poverty, tLere is no gre+t +Luno+nce. ltis still +n
A C I V I L I ZATI O N F R OM U N D E R 75
economy olsc+rcity, +no it isstill+ money economy. Vorkets
+rep+iov+ges +ccoroing to tLe kino +no +mountolvork tLey
oo,+notLemoretLeyprooucetLe more tLey+rep+io.
ltisnotnecess+rylormetogointo+lltLeoet+ilsoltLe·oviet
system, tLe very +ct olpresenting tLem migLt +rouse contro
versy. TLe most gener+l +no most signifc+nt le+ture ol tLe
wLole ·oviet economy, oistinguisLing it lrom ours +no lrom
everyotLersystemintLevorlo,istL+titiscentr+llycontrolleo
lortLetot+lLeneltoltLepeople.TLiscentr+liz+tionme+nsuot
only tL+t tLe kino +no qu+ntity ol gooos +re pl+nneo on +
n+tion+lsc+le,Lut+lsotL+ttLereiseverypossiLilityolcontrol
ling tLe qu+lity. Ano gre+t enorts +re m+oe to tLis eno. Artists
+no oesigners +reorg+nizeoin cooper+tives, +notLeir services
+re pl+ceo +t tLe oispos+l ol tLe soviets +no l+ctories. Ve +ll
knovvL+t + gre+t p+rt museums +no exLiLitions pl+y in tLe
soci+llileoltLecountry,+noevenmoreoirectencour+gementis
givento +rtists. 'Annu+lly ¡toquoteone+utLority'¡ tLe Council
olleople' sCommiss+rsnovoEersmonet+ry+v+rostomen+no
vomenvLo L+ve+tt+ineooistinctionintLe +rts. ln l 9+l tLese
+v+ros emLr+ceo music, p+inting, sculpture, +rcLitecture,
tLe+tre, oper+, or+m+ticvriting,L+llet, motionpictures,fction,
poetry, liter+ry criticism. ln e+cL oivision tLree to l ve +rtists
receive + frst +v+ro ol l 00, 000rouLles e+cL, +no lrom tLree
to ten + secono +v+ro ol L+ll tL+t sum. ' ·ucL + oeliLer+te
promotionolculturecontinuestotLepresento+y.
lrom +ll tLis itvoulo seem tL+t Russi+ must Le +n e+rtLly
p+r+oiselortLe+rtist,+nounoouLteolytLe+rtististre+teovitL
morerespectinRussi+tL+n+nyvLereelseintLevorlo.letme
quote one more vitness-+ vellknovn Americ+n sculptress,
Lmm+luD+vis.
' I n the Spri ng of 1 935 I went to Russi a. I wanted to see how
Maurice Hindus, Russia Fights On (London, 1 942), p. 1 2 7.
76 A C I V I L I ZAT I ON F R OM U N D E R
the arti sts were organized over there, how they were uti l ized i n
the scheme of l i fe, and how soci al ized patronage afected the
arts. I found that from an economic-soci al standpoi nt the
Soviet arti st enj oys the happi est si tuati on in the worl d; as a
trade uni on member he enjoys protecti on and soci al securi ty,
he never l acks empl oyment, and bui l di ng and decorative pro­
jects are broad enough to i ncl ude al l varieties of work-except
good work. Thi s, I bel i eve, was in no way the faul t of soci al i sm.
Soviet arti sts are not regi mented any more than arti sts i n other
countri es, but it happens that the pressure of popul ar taste i s
toward bad and tawdry styl es i n pai nti ng and scul pture. Russi a
has not a broad or i ntel l i gent popul ar base of appreci ati on
of real beauti ful projects. The Russi an tradi ti on of real fol k
pai nti ng di sappeared fou r or fve hundred years ago with the
l ast of the fne i kons. Si nce then there has been nothi ng but a
second- rate tradi ti on of academi c pai nt and cl ay pushi ng. ' 2
TLesignilc+ntl+ctvLicLemerges lrom+ll tLe evioenceve
c+n collect +Lout tLe situ+tion ol tLe +rtist in Russi+ is tL+t in
spite ol + luno+ment+l cL+nge in tLe economic system, +no
in spite ol+ll tLis oirect encour+gement oltLe +rts Ly tLose in
+utLority,tLereL+s notLeen +nytLingintLen+tureol+n+rtistic
ren+iss+nce. ln spite olst+tesupporteo +rtists' co-oper+tives, in
spiteol l+rgemonet+ry+v+ros+noomci+lLonours,inspiteol+
soci+lizeo+nocentr+lly pl+nneo economy, Russi+ ooes notturn
outlor tLe +omir+tion oltLe vorlo pots vLicL +re Letter tL+n
tLepotsvem+kein:t+norosLire,gl+ssv+revLicLis LettertL+n
tLe gl+ssv+re ol :veoen, lurniture vLicL is Letter tL+n tLe
lurniture ollinl+no, llms vLicL +re Letter tL+n tLe llms ol
Americ+, p+intings +no sculpture vLicL +re Letter tL+n tLe
p+intings +no sculpture ollr+nce or lt+ly. lts tLe+tre, its oper+
+no its L+llet m+y Le +s gooo or Letter tL+n +nytLing oltLeir
¯ Aeric, 1 942 (New York: Museum of Modern Art) , p. 44.
A C I V I L I ZATI ON F R OM U N D E R
kino inLurope, LuttLese +re +rts tL+t+re tr+oition+lly goooin
Russi+,+notL+tL+venooirectrel+tiontotLeeconomicsystem.
TLisis+verysignilc+nt+noeven+veryoisturLingl+ct,+noit
sLouìo Le ex+mineo oisp+ssion+tely, vitLout tLele+sttr+ce ol
politic+lLi+s. ltis+scientilcproLìem.An+tionL+st+kencert+in
me+sures to proouce cert+in results. ln one respect tLe experi
mentl+ileo.Ve+re+Loutto m+ke tLe s+meexperiment.Letus
t+kec+renottom+ketLes+memist+ke.
lLelievetLemist+keisluno+ment+llytLis.Youc+nnotimµose
+culturelromtLetop-itmustcomelromunoer.ltgrovsout
oltLesoil,outoltLepeople,outoltLeiro+ilylile+novork.ltis
+spont+neousexpressionoltLeirj oyinlile, oltLeirj oyinvork,
+noiltLis joy ooes not exist, tLe culture villnot exist.]oyis +
spiritu+l qu+lity, +n imp+lp+Lle qu+lity, tL+t too c+nnot Le
lorceo.ltmustLe+ninevit+Llest+teolmino,LornoltLeelem
ent+ryprocessesollile, +Lyproouctoln+tur+lLum+ngrovtL.
OLviouslytLere +rem+teri+lconoitionsvLicLl+vour itsemer-
gence. A people c+nnot Le j oylul ilit is Lungry or poverty
stricken,ilitisstrickenLyv+roroppression.Unlortun+telytLe
Russi+n people L+ve Leen Lungry +nopoor, tLre+teneo Ly v+r
+nooppresseo.Vec+nnot,tLerelore,sitin+c+oemicjuogement
on tLequ+lityoltLeirculture. lut l tLinkitis evioent enougL
tL+t tLe vorst kino oloppression c+me lrom vitLin. TLe lrst
+utLoritylquoteojustnov, +noLservervLoL+svrittenm+ny
symp+tLeticLooks +LouttLe:ovietregime, goes onto s+ytL+t
tLesemen+novomenvLo compete lor tLe +v+rosonereoto
tLe +rtists, +no otLers like tLem, ' L+ve L+oto spe+k tLepolitic+l
ì+ngu+ge, tLe politic+l tLougLtoltLe lremlin, vLicL, vitLno
concessionto oinerenceolopinionorvill,L+s, initsovnv+y,
Leen rutLlessly oriving tLe n+tion everyvLere, to its ovn lor
mul+olliving, itsovnsteelyresolve to convert tLe country+s
r+pioly+spossiLleinto+l+rßungmilit+rylortress ' .
Too+y no one conscious oltLe emciency oltL+t l+rßung
milit+rylortress,+nool+lltL+titme+nttoourovnsecurity+no
77
78 A C I V I L I ZATI ON F R OM U N D E R
eventu+l surviv+l in tLe ·econo Vorlo V+r, L+s +ny rigLt to
question tL+t rutLless +im, in spite ol+ll it L+s ent+ileo in cul·
tur+l sLortcomings. Ve L+ve not tLe rigLt, +no l Lope not tLe
impuoence, to criticize Russi+ in tLis respect Lec+use our ovn
priorities L+ve Leen tLe s+me. Ve must p+tiently oLserve tLe
sociologic+lprocessestL+t+ret+kingpl+ceunoeroureyes.llve
oo tL+t intLe spiritolscience+nore+lism, tLen l oo not tLink
ve c+n+voio tLeconclusiontL+t tLis centr+lizeo control oltLe
+rts +nool+llmooesol+rtisticexpressionL+s oele+teo its ovn
eno inRussi+. TLe +rts, ve m+y concluoe-+no not only lrom
tLisv+stmooernexperiment,LutlromtLev+sterexperimentol
Lum+nevolution-c+n only tLrive in +n +tmospLereolliLerty.
Artistsm+yLe prosperous unoer + tyr+nny, +nomost oict+tors,
conscious oltLe juogement olListory, try to ve+ve + clo+kol
cultureto Lioe tLeir misoeeos. lut tLe juogement olListoryis
+Lsolute,+novLentyr+nts +no +rtistsL+vep+sseo+v+y, tLe+rt
rem+ins, to Le trieo Ly l+vs vLicL +re neitLer economic nor
utilit+ri+n,Lutsolely +estLetic.
lsuggesttL+tcert+inLro+oconclusionsemergelrom+lltLese
conlusing issues.ltLinkvec+nst+tetL+t+vit+lculturerequires
in tLe lrstpl+ce +n economic system tL+t gu+r+ntees + cert+in
me+sureolsecurityto+cl+ss,+nopreler+Llyto+vLolepeople.Í
oonotv+nttoconlusesecurityvitLve+ltL, orevenvitLcom
lort. some oltLe fnest +rt intLe vorlo L+s Leen proouceo Ly
pe+s+nts, +no even Ly tLe people ve c+ll s+v+ges. lntLe secono
pl+ce, ltLinkvem+yconcluoetL+t+vit+lculturerequires spir
itu+lliLerty-lreeoom to express inoiviou+lleelings +no +spir
+tions vitLout le+r olconoemn+tion. ·ecurity +no lreeoom¬
tLese+re,+sitvere,tLeextern+lconoitionslortLeemergenceol
+ gre+t culture. lut extern+l conoitions +re not enougL, +nono
soci+lsystem,regiment+ryorliLer+l,tot+lit+ri+noroemocr+tic,
vill+cLieve+n+tivestyleol+rtunlesstL+tstyleL+s+vioeL+sis
in tLe n+tur+l t+ste oltLe people +t l+rge. TLis is tLe essenti+l
intern+l conoition, +notLougLitL+s itsoutv+ro +spect,vLicL
A C I V I L I ZATI ON F R OM U N D E R 79
wemigLt oescriLe +s vit+lity, itis re+lly + spiritu+l energy tL+t
c+nnot Le consciously cultiv+teo Ly tLe inoiviou+l. lt springs
lromsoci+lintegr+tion,lromtLes+tisl+ctionolcommonneeos,
lrommutu+l+io+nolromunityol+spir+tion.
ls+yvec+nnotcultiv+tesucLspiritu+lenergysell-consciously
+s inoiviou+ls, +noLy tLis l me+n tL+titc+nnotLe inspireo Ly
pre+cLing or spre+o Ly prop+g+no+. lut n+tur+lly ve c+n +no
mustprovioetLeconoitionssuit+Lletoitsemergence,+notLese
conoitions+re,notonlytLesecurity+nolreeoomessenti+lto¡Le
+rtist +s+ninoiviou+l,Lut+lso+mooeolupLringingorsystem
oleouc+tiontL+tissoci+lr+tLertL+ninoiviou+linitsmetLoos
+noioe+ls.TLisis+suLjectvLicLlL+veoe+ltvitLin+sep+r+te
Look, ` Lutlmustgive+cluetomyme+ning.TLevoro ' eouc+
tion' implies m+ny tLings, Lut in our mooern pr+ctice it is
+lv+ys + process olinoiviou+tion, oloeveloping inoiviou+l or
sep+r+te qu+lities-vL+t scLoolm+sters +no politici+ns c+ll
' cL+r+cter'-qu+litiesvLicLoistinguisLtLeinoiviou+llromLis
grouporenvironment.TLeoevelopmentolsucLqu+litiesintLe
inoiviou+lisverynecess+ry,essenti+ltotLev+rietyolouroemo
cr+ticv+yollile. lutinitselltLis kino oleouc+tionis soci+lly
oisintegr+ting, +no it sLoulo Le +ccomp+nieo Ly some process
vLicLcorrectstLetenoencytov+rosoisintegr+tion,+noLrings
tLeinoiviou+lL+ckintotLe soci+lunit.lnprimitivesocieties-
societiesvLicL+rene+rly+lv+ysrem+rk+LlelortLecoLesionol
tLeir culture +no tLe vit+lity ol tLeir v+y ollile-tLere exists
sucL + process. lnste+o ol ' eouc+tion' ve lno cert+in rites ol
' initi+tion'-+ or+ving oltLe inoiviou+l into society, to merge
LimvitLtLegroup.Ve usetLes+mevoroinconnectionvitL
religious communities-+no +lv+ys vitL tLe implic+tion ol+
le+oing ' in` , +no not + or+ving 'out' . Louc+tion sLoulo Le L+l
+nceo Lyiniti+tion-+ or+ving oltLe inoiviou+l into tLecom
munity,m+kingLimconsciousolitscollectivelile, itscollective
Education Through Art. New edition, London (Faber &Faber) , 1 958.
80 A C I V I L I ZATI ON F R OM U N D E R
ioe+ls +no +spir+tions. Ve v+guely re+lize tLis trutL in our
+ttempt to cre+te + youtL movement. lut l me+n sometLing
mucLmoreintim+te+nol+rre+cLing tL+n+nytLingimplieoin
sucL soci+lp+tcLvork.l me+n +conceptionoleouc+tiontL+tis
soci+lizeolromtLekinoerg+rtenup,invLicLeverycl+ssroomis
+ LusylittlevorksLop,everyscLoolLoy+noviceseeking initi
+tionintotLemysteriesol+rt+noscience,everylesson+ group
+ctivity,Linoing +noinspiring tLeinoiviou+l, cre+ting tL+tcol
lective consciousness vLicL is tLe spiritu+l energy ol+ people
+notLeonlysourceolits+rt+noculture.
NoviltL+tistrue-iltLisinterpret+tionoltLeoLviousl+cts
is +omitteo-tLen it must m+ke + oiEerence to ourpolicy. ltis
only too e+sy-l conless it L+s olten Leen my ovn st+te ol
mino-to give uptLeoirectstrugglelor+nimmeoi+teoLjectin
tLeLopeorexpect+tiontL+t+soci+lrevolutionolsomesortvill
cL+ngeeverytLinglor tLeLetter, incluoinginits gener+lsveep
tLe+imlorvLicL ve L+ve Leen sov+inly struggling.luttL+tis
oisproveoLytLeevioenceolrecentye+rs.lnnosinglec+sec+nit
Les+iotL+t+ soci+l oreconomicrevolutionL+sLrougLt+Lout+
LigLer st+no+ro olpuLlic t+ste.ll+nytLing, tLe evioence sLovs
tL+tunless +ccomp+nieo Ly +n intelligent system oleouc+tion,
+nincre+seintLe soci+l+no economicvellLeingol+nygroup
olpeopleonlyle+os to+nexp+nsionolvulg+rity+noL+ot+ste.
lt lollovs tL+t ve must strive nov +no +lv+ys lor our
immeoi+teoLjectives.Our struggleisontLe +rtisticor+estLetic
pl+ne, +no to secure our enos, to est+LlisL our purely +estLetic
ioe+ls, ve must Le prep+reo to tLink outsioe tLe c+tegories ol
tLeexistingpolitic+lsystems.lnp+rticul+r,vemust+L+noontLe
ioe+tL+t+ll ourproLlems c+nLe solveoLy ' tLest+te' . l oonot
question tLe pover oltLe st+te. it is s+io tL+t tLe MotLer ol
P+rli+mentsc+noo+lltLings,even unto cL+ngingtLesex olLer
citizens.luttL+tis not tLepoint.lnsol+r+s it is + questionol
preserving lile +no property, olsecuring oecency +no cle+nli
ness, tLe st+tenov +ctsvitL+n +lmost excessive tLorougLness.
A C I V I L I ZAT I O N F R OM U N D E R 81
luti t +lmostcompletelyignorestLeequ+llyimport+ntquestions
olvL+tlvillc+llpuLlic+ppe+r+nces-tLecolour+nosL+pe+no
visu+l+gree+LlenessolvL+teveryLooyL+s to see+nouseevery
o+y ol tLeir lives. lt is oimcult to unoerst+no vLy tLe st+te,
vLicLprevents+m+nlrom gettingorunkorcommitting+ lel
ony, sLoulonotonly+llovLutevenencour+getLiss+mem+nto
loultLe puLlicvisionvitL +nuglyLouse or+ Lioeous pieceol
lurniture.ltc+nonlyLeLec+usetLest+te+ssucLis+nexpression
olpurelyeconomicv+lues. ln+nylessm+teri+listicst+no+rdol
v+luestLesinoluglinessvoulor+nk+gooooe+lLigLertL+ntLe
sinolcovetousness.
Ve neeo +relormolpuLlict+ste-+v+st cultur+l movement
comp+r+Lle to tLe religious Relorm+tion ol tLe sixteentL
century. lut + relorm+tion is + violent process, it ooesn`t just
L+ppen.ltme+nsLre+kingoovnoloL+Lits,m+kingnev+ssoci
+tions,+o+ptingourselvestonevconoitions.ltis+oimcult+no
uncomlort+Lle experience lor tLe m+jority olpeople, +no tLe
m+jorityolpeople+rejustnotgoingtoLotLertorelormtLem
selvesilitinvolvesconsciouseEort.Ve mustnotlorgettL+ttLe
lnglisLm+n` sLomeisLis c+stle, +no tL+tLequiteinstinctively,
+no quite rigLtly, resents tLe interlerence olpeople vLo pro
posetoinv+oeLispriv+teoom+in,+nonotmerelyinv+oeit,Lut
p+ssruoerem+rks+LoutvL+ttLeynnotLere-tLecLin++notLe
curt+ins, tLe c+rpets +no tLe cL+irs, even tLe orn+ments on
tLe m+ntelpiece. AnotL+tistLe +ttituoenotonlyoltLem+nin
tLe street, Lut +lso ol tLe m+nul+cturers ol sucL c+rpets +no
cL+irs +no orn+ments. ·ucL people resent tLe +ctivities oltLe
relormer still more Litterly-to tLem ve +re just oLnoxious
interloperstryingtotelltLemLovtoruntLeirLusiness.
TLere is, olcourse, + tecLnique lor oe+ling vitL tLe m+nu
l+cturer. Ve c+n point out to Lim-inoeeo ve c+n prove to
Lim-tL+tvL+tve c+ll gooo oesignis+ commerci+l +sset,+no
tL+t in + vorìo ol sLrinking m+rkets, vLere tLe m+nul+cturer
c+n oepeno less +noless ontLeexploit+tionolnevconsumers,
æ
82 A C I V I L I ZAT I ON F R OM U N D E R
tLe +ppe+r+nce +no qu+lity ol Lis gooos is going to Le tLe
oetermining l+ctor. lut our oLlig+tions oo not eno vitL tLe
conversionoltLem+nul+cturer,mucL+stL+tistoLeoesireo.Ve
must still vork on tLe imponoer+Lles-puLlic t+ste, puLlic
eouc+tion, tLegener+llevelolcultureintLem+sses.
lL+ves+iotL+tyouc+nnotimpose+culturelromtLetop-it
must Le + Lyproouct oltLe n+tur+l proouctive +ctivity oltLe
people. lut tLis ooes not me+n tL+t ve must just sit L+ck +no
v+it lor tLe mir+cle to L+ppen. Regener+tion vill Legin +t tLe
Lottom,intLel+mily,intLescLool,intLevorksLop+nointLe
p+risL +no tLe LorougL. Action vill Le region+l r+tLer tL+n
n+tion+l,LutvemigLtm+ke+LeginningvitLtLoseinstitutions
vLicL +re +lre+oy suLject to region+l +no commun+l control.
Alre+oy+v+st+mountolproouction+nooistriLutionisc+rrieo
outLy puLlicor semipuLlicLooiesvLicLmigLtt+ke tLele+o
intLose'ritesoliniti+tion'tL+tgivetLeinoiviou+l+soci+lmor
+lity+no+prioeinpuLlic+ppe+r+nces.VLenveconsioertL+tit
isour+mLitionnotonlytoimprovetLeoesignolpots+nop+ns,
ollurniture +notextiles,Lut+lsoolpuLlicLuiloingslike tovn
L+lls +no r+ilv+y st+tions, council Louses +no government
omces, olro+os +no +ll tLey c+rry in tLev+y olsignposts +no
ligLtingsystems,vLenveconsioer,moreover,tL+t+oemocr+tic
org+niz+tionliketLeCooper+tiveMovementisoneoltLevorst
onenoersintLefelooloesign-tLenvesL+llLegintoseevLy
vemustcre+te+puLlicconscienceintLism+tter.Vemustcre+te
+ puLlic st+no+ro ol t+ste ¸oecent oesign) comp+r+Lle to tLe
puLlic st+no+ro ol LeL+viour ¸oecent conouct-vLicL ooes
existtLougLitisnot+lv+ysoLserveo) .AnooesigninsometLing
moret+ngiLletL+nconouct.
lern+ro :L+v once s+io vitL relerence to tLe proposeo
n+tion+ltLe+tre. 'ltis+simpleListoric+ll+cttL+tcultur+linstitu
tions L+ve to Le imposeo on tLe m+sses Ly rulers or priv+te
p+trons enligLteneo enougL to knov tL+t sucL institutions
+re neitLer luxuries nor mere +musements Lut necessities ol
æ
A C I V I L I ZAT I ON F R OM U N D E R 83
civiìizeolile. ' l oon` t+greevitL tLis oictum. l Lelieve tL+tcul
tur+l institutions 'imposeo on' tLe m+sses +re so mucL oe+o
weigLt-to LellvitLsucLculture' luttLis ooesnotme+ntL+t
tLet+steol+ people sLoulonotEno spont+neous expression in
n+tion+linstitutions,+nolvouloliketo see,notonly+N+tion+l
C+ìlery +no + N+tion+l TLe+tre, Lut +lso + N+tion+l Cinem+, +
N+tion+l l+llet, +no + n+tion+l institution lor tLe exLiLition ol
tLeLe+utilul tLings cre+teoLy+people' s inoustry.Ve neeo not
c+llit+Museum-tL+tconveystLe notion ol+pl+ce vLeretLe
p+st is preserveo. Ve v+nt+ pl+ce vLere tLe luture is lorec+st.
Let us c+ll it, tLerelore, tLe House ol Cooo Design, +no let
it Le vortLy oltLe pover +no potenti+lities olourinoustries,
ìet tLere Le +t le+st one c+tLeor+l to commemor+te tLe
+cLievementsoltLeM+cLineAge.
lre+lizetL+tlL+venotyet+nsvereotLesimple+nooev+st+t
ingquestion.tovL+teno?VLysLoulove t+ketListrouLle+no
expeno tLis energy lor tLe s+ke olsometLing so int+ngiLle +s
Le+uty? TLere is tLe economic +rgument +lre+oy useo, Lut tLe
economistmigLtturnonus+nos+y. let usr+tLerL+ve+Le+gue
ollnoustri+l Pe+ce to elimin+te +ll competitive l+ctors, +mong
tLem oesign. Alter +ll, lrom + strictly economic point olviev,
tLere isnoneeoto m+ke tLings Le+utilul so long +s tLey lunc
tion s+tisl+ctorily. No, in tLe eno ve must +L+noon tLe eco
nomic +rguments. Ve must use it lor str+tegic purposes, Lut
En+llyvesL+llL+vetoconlesstL+tLe+utyisitsovneno.tL+tve
+reEgLtinglorLetteroesign+sp+rtol+Lettervorlo.lntLeeno
our+rgumentisnoteconomic,norpr+ctic+l,norevenetLic+l,it
is simply Liologic+l. Ve m+y L+ve tLe conviction-cert+inly l
L+ve-tL+ttLereis+fn+lcorresponoenceLetveenvL+tisem
cient+novL+tisLe+utilul+novL+tistrue.+convictiontL+t+rt
is+Lum+ncontriLutiontotLeunivers+loesign.lutourlrontis
oeE nite,ourscopeisstrict.veconcentr+teonone+spectoltLe
necess+ryrevolution,vLile+omittingtL+ttLisnecess+ryrevolu-
tionisnecess+rilytot+l.Ve re+lizetL+ttLevulg+rityolvLicLve
æ
84 A C I V I L I ZATI ON F R OM U N D E R
compl+inruns tLrougLtLevLolel+Lricolour civiliz+tion.\e
L+veno leelinglor Le+uty Lec+use veL+venorespectlortrutL
+nogoooness. lric Cilluseo tos+ytL+tilve gotourmor+l+no
religiousv+luesrigLt,tLerestvoulolollov. Le+utyvoulolook
+lter Lersell VitL qu+lilc+tions vLicL involve + vLole tLeory
ol+estLetics+no+vLolepLilosopLyollile, lvoulo+gree.lut+t
tLe conclusion ol+n ess+y vLicL is +lre+oy long enougL l c+n
onlym+ketLeseLle+k+ßrm+tions.
Beauty i s a qual ity in thi ngs made-'the radi ance of thi ngs
made as they ought to be made' (Gi l l ) .
Beauty i s therefore somethi ng that appeal s di rectly t o the
senses.
An epoch of art becomes possi bl e onl y when workmen are
not concerned to make thi ngs beauti ful ly, are not told to make
thi ngs beautiful ly, but do so j ust because they don' t know any
worse.
A great ci vi l i zati on or cul ture can onl y ari se on the basi s of a
natural i nsti nct to make thi ngs as they ought to be made.
AnotL+tisvLylc+llit+civiliz+tion' lromunoer` .
æ
6
TH E SYM PTOMS OF
DECADENCE
I implore you to tell me how a people that has so many
philosophers can have so little taste . . . .
Voltaire in a letter to the Cardinal de Bern is
You seem to be surprised that philosophy, enlightening the
mind and rectifing ideas, should have so little infuence on
the taste of a nation. You are quite right: and yet you will have
observed that manners have even more empire over taste
than have the sciences. It seems to me that in the matter of
art and of literature, the progress of taste is more dependent
on the spirit of society than on the philosophic spirit.
The Cardinal de Bern is in a letter to Voltaire. Cited by
Delacroix,joural, April j, 1858.
1Lesymptomsoloec+oence+stLeyreve+ltLemselvesintLe+rt
ol+country+re inoiEerence,v+nity+noservituoe. lnoiEerence
is tLe +Lsenceol+ppreci+tion. itistLe gener+l +ttituoe tov+ros
tLe +rts in +n inoustri+l +ge. lt is true tL+t ve still L+ve + lev
p+trons vLo c+rry on + Lygone system, Lut tLey +re neitLer
-
86 T H E S Y M PTO MS O F D E CA D E N C E
numerous enougL nor inßuenti+l enougL to +nect tLe gener+l
Looy ol+rt. ltissignilc+nt, too, tL+ttLeyconlne tLemselves to
tLe+rts olp+inting +nomusic, vLose prooucts c+nLe useo lor
tLeir person+l prolt-lor tLe oecor+tion oltLeir Louses or tLe
+musement oltLeir lrienos. l knov olno mooern p+trons ol
poetry, or olliter+ture ol+ny kino. A poet migLt sell Lis +uto-
gr+pLlorsixpence+t+cL+rityL+z++r,LutitvouloLe+poorsort
olL+z++rtL+tcoulonotprocuretLel+rmorev+lu+Lleservicesol
+r+cingmotorist,+countycricketeror+llmst+r.
lnoinerence is enoemic. lt is + oise+se vLicL L+s spre+o
tLrougL our vLole civiliz+tion, +no vLicL is + symptom ol+
lovereo vit+lity. TLe sensiLilities +re oulleo +no tLe +ver+ge
Lum+nLeingnolongerc+restoleeltLekeeneogeollile, toL+ve
lresLnessinvisionorzest+nos+vourin tLe senses.Heprelers to
l+ce lile in tLe +rmour olLoreoom +no cynicism, lenoing on
oesp+irvitLtLeLr+zensLielooloissip+tion.llLeisricLLec+n
comm+no+musementstL+tsootLeLisex+cerL+teonervesvitL
out eng+ging Lis mino or intriguing Lis im+gin+tion, ilLe is
poor Le vill plunge into tLe cLe+p m+keLelieve vorlo ol
HollyvooovLereLe c+nenjoyvic+riouslytLeglitteringlile ol
tLericL,orLevillg+mLleLisill-sp+reosLillingsontLelootL+ll
pools intLe expect+tionolone o+yLeing+Lle to inoulgeinLis
ovn Lectic spenoing. lut ricL or poor, it is tLe s+me lever to
esc+pe lromre+lity-+Love +ll, lrom +rt, vLicListLe mirrorin
vLicLtLere+lityollileis+ccentu+teo.
TLere is one exception to tLis rule. tLose people vLo tLink
tLeyc+nsuLouetLe+rtist+nouseLisvorkslortLeirovnprolt.
TLetimeL+s gone Ly invLicL+nycreoitisto Le oLt+ineoLy
tLeoirectp+tron+ge ol+rt, no one, lortLes+keol+ oeoic+tion,
voulop+y+poettovrite+nepic.lutcert+inkinosol+rtc+nLe
LrougLtvitLin tLe orLit oltLe commerci+l system-tL+t is to
s+y, tLey c+n Le given +n +rtilci+l sc+rcity v+lue +no put on
tLem+rket.TLis+pplies+Love+ll tomov+LleoLjects like p+int
ings. lut tLe process Ly vLicL + p+inting Lecomes + m+rket
T H E S Y M PT OMS O F D ECA D E N C E 87
commooity i s not + simple one. TLe oem+no must Lecre+teo
+no tLe supplymustLerestricteo. loonotv+ntto suggesttL+t
tLeoem+noc+nLecre+teoirrespectiveolmerit, Lutgr+nteotLe
merit, it must Le exploiteo, +no it c+n only Le exploiteo Ly
snoLLisLme+ns.A p+intermigLtp+intlltypictures+ ye+r+no
m+kequite+gooolivingLysellingtLem+t£!0+pieceto+vioe
+nonymous puLlic, Lut in tL+t v+y Le voulo never Lecome
l+mous inLis liletime. ly oeviousv+ys itL+s to Le suggesteo
tL+t+lev selectpeoplesLoulop+y£l 000lortLer+reprivilege
olpossessing one olMr.Xs' c+nv+ses.AnosucLis tLe cunning
+no emciency oltLe +rt tr+oe tL+t tLis c+n Le oone. lut tLen
consioertLepositionoltLislucky+noperL+psoeserving +rtist.
Hispictures p+sslrom Lis stuoio to tLe oe+ler sr+ck, lrom tLis
emporiumtLey +re ooleooutto tLepuLlic +t+r+tevLicLvill
not ßooo tLe m+rket. TLey +re priceo +s LigL +s tLe +uo+cious
oe+ler o+res, +no LougLt Ly someone ricL enougL to p+y tLis
exorLit+ntsum.A situ+tionL+sLeencre+teoinvLicLtLevork
ol+rt is LougLt, not lor its intrinsicv+lue +s + vork ol+rt, Lut
simplyLec+useitis+commerci+lr+ritytLepossessionolvLicL
villreßectcreoitontLeovner.
ln sucL + situ+tion tLere is no org+nic rel+tion Letveen tLe
+rtist+notLepuLlic,tLereisnore+l cont+ct,nogive +not+keol
expression +no +ppreci+tion. TLe +rtist is vorking in + closeo
circuit,+noneeoneverLre+kit.
TLeo+ngerintLissitu+tionisnottL+ttLe+rtistm+kes+gooo
ìiving+nois+Lletolive+lileol luxury.Cooo+rtistsintLep+st,
sucL+sRuLens,L+veliveolikeprinces+nonoL+rmL+scometo
tLeir+rt. lutRuLensliveoinoirectcont+ctvitLLis puLlic, Le
oe+lt,+sitvere, +crossLisovn counter.TLemooern+rtistis+s
remote+stLeminesolAn+cono+orRioTinto,+nosuLjecttotLe
s+me quot+tions +no specul+tions. Ano very mucL tLe s+me
motives govern LotL m+rkets. TLe prices ol pictures +re not
quoteo in tLe :tock LxcL+nge lists, Lut tLeyL+ve tLeirßuctu
«tionsonV+nityl+ir.:oL+vemostoltLecommooitiesoltLe+rt
88 TH E S Y M PTO MS O F D E CA D E N C E
m+rket. TLe puLlisLer must exploit v+nity lor Lis Looks, tLe
impres+riolorLismusic+notLeprooucerlorLispl+ys.TLeonly
+ltern+tiveisto suLstitute entert+inmentlor+rt.TLepuLlicvill
p+y lor entert+inment, tLe priv+te person lor tLe privilege ol
possessingsometLingunique.
V+nity in tLe p+tron ol+rt le+os to servituoe in tLe +rtist. A
servile minois+ minotL+tL+scommitteomor+l suicioe.Art is
inoepenoence-inoepenoence olvision, oirectness ol expres
sion, spiritu+l oet+cLment. A gooo oe+l olnonsense L+s Leen
vritten+LouttLe+nonymous+rtistsoltLeMiooleAges.llveoo
notknovtLen+mesoltLe+rcLitectsolourc+tLeor+lsoroltLe
sculptors+nop+intersvLooecor+teotLem,itissimplyLec+use
tLe +rtists oltLe perioo oio notL+ve tLe Leneft ol+ mooern
puLlicity service, tLe recoros L+ve perisLeo. tLe +rt rem+ins,
univers+l +no tLerelore imperson+l in its +ppe+l, Lut none tLe
less tLe cre+tion ol inoiviou+l minos. ll Ao+m Lock, tLe
tLirteentLcentury+rcLitectolVellsC+tLeor+l,orVilli+mVyn
loro,tLelourteentL-century+rcLitectolVincLester, +re not so
vellknovn+sVrenorN+sL,itisnottL+ttLeyvereinlerior+s
+rcLitects, orin +ny sense less inoiviou+l. Ve c+n +ßrm it+s+
simplel+cttL+tlromtLee+rliest+ppe+r+nceol+rtinpreListoric
times until tLe present o+y, +rt L+s Leen tLe cre+tion olinoi
viou+l minos, re+cting lreely to tLeir environment, expressing
+nointerpretingtLecommonvill,LutoerivingtLeessence+no
tLe vit+lity oltLeir vorks lrom tLe m+ke +no m+nner oltLeir
ovnperson+lities.
lt is Lec+use +rt is sucL +n inoiviou+l +ct olcre+tion tL+t it
oem+nos lreeoom lor its perlection-lreeoom ol mino +no
lreeoomolperson.ltisoltenoLjecteototLispointolvievtL+t
some oltLe gre+test vorks ol+rt vere proouceo in times ol
stress-tL+ttLeDivine Comedy v+svrittenLy+politic+lexile,+no
Don Quixote in+j +il.lutilve look more closelyintotLesec+ses,
vefnotL+tD+nte+pproxim+testo+oistinguisLeopolitic+lexile
ol too+y spenoing Lis time +s + guest in v+rious country
w
T H E S Y M PTO MS O F D E CA D E N C E
Louses-not L+o conoitions lor poetic +ctivity, +no +s lor
Cerv+ntes, prisonv+s + pe+celul +no c+relree interv+l in + lile
olpoverty+nopersecution.
TLe trutL isr+tLer tL+ttLere is sc+rcely + gre+t +rtist in tLe
Listoryolmooernciviliz+tionvLosevorkvoulonotL+veLeen
incomp+r+Llygre+terilLecouloL+veliveoinspiritu+llreeoom
+noeconomicsecurity.TLereexists + lr+gmentol+letter lrom
Leon+roo o+ Vinci to Lis p+tron, Luoovic :lorz+. ` l regretvery
mucL, ` Levrote, `tL+ttLe l+ct olmy L+ving to g+inmy living
sLoulo L+ve preventeo me lrom continuing tLe vork vLicL
yourHigLnessL+sintrusteotome.LutlLopetL+tvitLin+sLort
time l sL+llL+ve e+rneo so mucL +s to Le +LlevitL + tr+nquil
minoto s+tislyyourLxcellency, tovLomlcommenomysellll
yourLxcellencytLougLttL+tl L+o money, youvere oeceiveo,
lor l L+ve L+o six moutLs to leeo lor tLirtysix montLs, +no l
L+veL+onltyouc+ts. 'TLism+nL+operL+pstLegre+testintellect
tL+t tLe Lum+n r+ce L+s ever proouceo. Le v+s Linoereo +no
reouceotoimpotencylortLev+ntol+lev ouc+ts.
TLeeconomicservituoeoltLe+rtistisonec+useoltLeoe+tL
ol+rt, +notLereisno+gevLicLc+nesc+petLesL+meolkeep
ing its +rtists in poverty. lutpovertyisnevertLeless +n experi-
ence lrom vLicL tLe +rtist c+n oerive some Leneft, sucL +s +
symp+tLeticunoerst+noing oltLe suEerings olLum+nity +no+
knovleoge ol tLe LeL+viour ol men in +oversity. A cert+in
+pprenticesLip in Lumility is perL+ps essenti+l to tLe oevelop
ment oltLe +rtist. lut tLere is no s+nction +t +ll lor tL+t otLer
lorm olservituoe vLicL springs lrom intoler+nce. lt is unoer
st+no+lle tL+t politic+ns sLoulo resent tLe pover ol eEective
expression vLicL is in tLe L+nos ol tLe +rtist, +no tL+t tLey
sLoulov+nttocontroltLispoverintLeinterests ol+systemol
government or + policy. lt is unoerst+no+Lle tL+t + cLurcL
sLoulov+nttousetLispovertoprop+g+teitsoogm+s.Artisnot
inconsistentvitLsucLprop+g+no+,solong +s tLe+rtistiscon
senting, or Lelieving, orsymp+tLizing. luttL+ttLe lurtLer step
89
æ
90 T H E S Y M PT OMS O F D E CA D E N C E
sLouloLet+ken,+notL+t+rtsLouloLecontrolleoLypolitici+ns
in its ovn supposeo interests, is simply c+t+stropLic. Art m+y
suneroetermin+tionol+im, +nostillsurviveinLoveveroeL+seo
+lorm, LuttL+ttLe+rtistsLoulosuLmitto+oict+tionolmetLoo
isinconceiv+Lle.lntLevery+ctolsuLmissionLece+sestoLe+n
+rtist.To oecl+retL+ttLe+rtol+countrysLouloLeol+p+rticu
l+r style-it is +lv+ys + style lrom tLe p+st-or ol+ p+rticul+r
content-Leroic, re+list,mor+loreugenic.sucL+ctionimmeoi
+telyinLiLitstLe +rtist, +no+rtcomes to + suooeneno. ltislor
tLisre+son,+notLisre+son+lone,tL+tno consioer+Llevorksol
+rtL+veemergeolromRussi+ since +Lout l 9!+
ltisnottL+t+rtisincomp+tiLlevitLrevolution-l+r lromit.
Noroo l suggesttL+t+rtL+s no specilcp+rtto pl+y in + revo-
lution+rystruggle.l+mnotoelenoing+rtlor+rt' ss+ke,l+mnot
+rguing tL+t+rt sLoulo rem+in `pure'-sucL+rtisgener+llytLe
+rt oltLe re+ction+ry oilett+nti. Art +s l L+ve oelneo it is so
intim+tely linkeoto tLevit+llorces ollile tL+titc+rries society
tov+rosevernevm+nilest+tions oltL+tlile. Art, inits lull+no
lree suLj ective +ction, is tLe one essenti+lly revolution+ry lorce
vitLvLicLm+nis enooveo.Artis revolution,+no +rtc+nLest
serverevolutionLyrem+iningtruetoitsell
Art'svioersignilc+nceisLiologic+l.ltisnoiolepl+yolsur
plus energies, no merelustre on tLe L+ro surl+ce olre+lity, +s
m+teri+listsL+ve tenoeo to +rgue. lt springs lrom tLe centre ol
lile. ltistLelnesttoneolourvit+lity,tLereßexionolL+rmoni-
ouslorm, tLeveryecLooltLeorg+nicrLytLmoltLeuniverse.A
n+tion vitLout +rtm+y+cLieve extern+l oroer, itm+y +ccumu
l+te ve+ltL +no exercise pover. lut il it is vitLout +estLetic
sensiLility, tLesetLingsvillperisL+sillromtLeirovnveigLt,
tLeirl+ck olL+l+nce+no proportion.PerL+psno civiliz+tion is
oestineo to survive m+ny centuries, Lut vLen + civiliz+tion is
stricken,vesL+ll tLennotice, +longvitL+ oeclining LirtLr+te
+no+nincre+singoeLt,lrsttLecensureolorigin+lityin+rt+no
tLen+rt'scompletesuLservience+nooele+t.TLeoecline+nol+ll
m
T H E S Y M PT OMS O F D E CA D E N C E 91
ol+ civiliz+tion n+tur+lly involve tLe oecline +no l+ll olits +rt,
Lutitis+mist+keto +ssumetL+t+rtperisLessimplyLec+useits
soci+l louno+tions +re vitLor+vn. TLe louno+tions +retLe +rt,
+notLeyperisLlrom+rottL+tL+sinv+oeotLevLolestructure.
lsycLologists s+y tL+t our minos cont+in tvo contr+ry
impulses-tLevilltolive+notLevilltooie, +notL+ttLecurve
ollileis tLe result oltLe contestLetveen tLem. :ovitL+civil
iz+tion. lt L+s + vill to live +no + vill to oie, +no tLe LigLest
expressionolitsvilltoliveis+lree+noorigin+l+rt.
7
TH E COLL ECTIVE PATRON
One of the reasons why I am out of employment now, why I
have been out of employment for years, is simply that I have
other ideas than the gentlemen who give the places to men
who think as they do.
Vincent van Gogh, Letter to hi s Brother Theo,
july 1 õõO.
l L+ve suggesteo, on +n e+rlier p+ge, tL+t tLe +rtist sLoulo Le
+LolisLeo. +rt is not+ sep+r+te 'prolession' , Lut + qu+lityinLer
ent in +ll vork vell oone. lL+ve+lso implieo tL+t in + Le+ltLy
societytLe citizens +re nottoo consciousoltLeir ' culture' . tLey
cre+tevorksol+rt+utom+tic+lly,instinctively.AttLe s+me time
l +omitteo tL+t tLere vere cert+in ` glittering pinn+cles' vLicL
piercetLrougLtLeroutineolo+ily+ctivity, to+cLieve +timeless
univers+lity.
ln oroer tL+t tLese sunc+ppeo pe+ks sL+ll emerge in tLe
courseol+n+tion' sevolution,itisnecess+rytL+ttLeresLouloLe
+ gener+l oiEusion ol sensiLility, tL+t people sLoulo possess
n+tur+l 't+ste' . T+ste is lormeo Ly + continuous +ssessment ol
T H E C OL L E CT I V E PAT R ON 93
qu+lity sucL +s +ll cr+ltsmen instinctively oirect tov+ros e+cL
otLer' svork.lnsociety+s+vLole+critic+l+ttituoeoltLiskino
proouces+progressive+v+renessoltLelorm+lLe+utyolLum+n
+rtil+cts,+notLisistLetrueme+ning ol` t+ste' .
ll l+m+skeovLetLertLisi s +necess+ryor+Le+ltLy+ctivity,l
Lesit+te toLepositive.·ellconsciousnessin+rtistLeLeginning
olsopListic+tion,+noilitme+ns+ìossolsoci+lconsciousnessin
tLeinoiviou+l,+senseolsep+r+teness,l +m sureitistLeLegin
ning ol tLe eno, tLe frst symptom ol soci+l oec+oence. lut
criticismc+nLegroupcriticism.itc+nLetLesoci+l+v+renessol
soci+lreìev+nce, +nointL+tsenseitis+necess+ry lunction.ltis
tLe sense olqu+lity, tLe recognition ol+cLievement. lt is tLe
collective+ppreci+tion+nopromotionol+rt.
ln+vit+lcommunity, +rtispromoteointLreev+ys. soci+lly
Ly +ppreci+tion, economic+lly Ly p+tron+ge, +no essenti+lly Ly
ìiLerty.TLese+retLetLreenecessitiesuponvLicLtLelileol+rt
oepenos.+ppreci+tion,p+tron+ge+noliLerty.
Ve neeonot ovell ontLeneeolor +ppreci+tion.TLereL+ve
Leen +rtists vLo L+o liveo +no vorkeo vitLout immeoi+te
+ppreci+tion, Lut tLey L+ve Leen inspireo Ly conviction-Ly +
l+n+tic+ll+itLintLeeventu+ìrecognitionoltLeirgenius.Artists
likeV+n CogLL+vesomucLconfoenceintLemselvestL+ttLey
+recontenttovorklor +posteritytLeyvillneversee. lutsucL
inoiviou+ls+reveryr+re.LventLemostneglecteo+rtistsusu+lly
L+ve + sm+ll circle oloevoteo +omirers, +no eventvo or tLree
spiritsolr+reperception+resußcienttoconfrm+n+rtistinLis
+ctivity. lnoeeo, tLere is every re+son to oistrust more tL+n +
mooer+te success in one' s ovn time. every gre+t +rtist Leing
unoertLe necessity, +sVorosvortL s+io, olcre+tingtLepuLlic
t+steLyvLicLLeis+ppreci+teo-+processtL+tt+kestime.TLe
essenti+ltLingislortLe+rtisttoL+vetLesenseol+n+uoience.to
leel th+t Lis voice is not ecLoing in +n empty room, vitL no
response.lnevery gre+t+rtist' s oevelopmenttLereis+n imper
ceptiLleprocessolgive+not+ke,ol+ppe+l+noresponse, oltri+l
94 T H E C OL L E CTI V E PAT R ON
+no experiment-+no Le c+nnot experiment on + oe+o+no
unresponsiveLooy.
TLe secono necessity lor tLe lile ol +rt is patronage: + voro
vLicLÌ use oeliLer+tely. TLere +re tvo v+ys invLicL +n+rtist
c+n live. Ly selling Lis +rt to tLe puLlic, or Ly receiving +n
incomenotoepenoentonLis+rtistic+ctivity.lnspite olevery
tLing tL+t L+s Leen s+io to tLe contr+ry, l +m convinceo tL+t
inoepenoence is tLe only proper L+sis lor +nykino olcre+tive
+ctivity. l oo not visL to revive tLe priv+te p+tron+ge vLicL
Lec+mecurrentintLis countryouring tLe seventeentL century
+no persisteo until more recent times. tL+t L+o its oLvious
+Luses, +nov+s inl+ct+ lorm olservile oepenoence, Lovever
enligLteneo tLe p+tron migLt Le. lut, uns+tisl+ctory +s sucL
person+l Lonos migLt Le, tLe commerci+liz+tion ol+rt vLicL
lolloveo v+s mucL more ois+strous, +no l c+n tLink ol no
+rtist-cert+inlynot+rtistslike:cottorl+lz+corDickens-vLo
voulo not L+ve Leen Letter +rtists iltLey L+o Leenrelieveo ol
insistent ln+nci+l pressure. lt is + l+ct olno sm+ll signilc+nce
tL+t + gre+tm+¡ority oltLep+inters, poets +no composersvLo
L+vc risen to l+me since tLe ois+ppe+r+nce ol tLe p+tron+ge
systemL+veLeenmenvitLinoepenoentincomesoeriveolrom
inLeriteoest+tes.Or,likeVorosvortL,tLeyL+veLeeninposses-
sion ol omci+l sinecures ouring + consioer+Lle p+rt ol tLeir
lives.
lt is instructive to oLserve Lov tLe proLlem oltLe +rtist's
income L+sLeenoe+lt vitL in + nevsociety like tLe soci+list
repuLlicolRussi+.TLeevioencepuLlisLeoLyv+riousinteresteo
p+rties is conßicting, Lut Lrießy ve m+y s+y tL+t tLe +rts +re
oivorceolromtLeinoustries ¸+sculptor,lorex+mple,Lelonging
to+n+rtist' s' collective'orunion,+nonottotLes+meunion+s+
stonem+son) +no org+nizeo on p+r+llel lines. TLere exist co
oper+tive unions lor +ll tLe v+rious Lr+ncLes ol+rt, vitL Le+o
omces inMoscov+noLr+ncLes +llover tLe U. :. :. R. Any+rtist,
onprooucingevioenceolList+lent+noolLisseriousintentions,
T H E C OL L E CT I V E PAT R ON 95
m+y J Om tLe +ppropri+te cooper+tive. VLen Le L+s Leen
properly+omitteo,LetLensigns+contr+ctol+ye+r's our+tion.
ln tLis contr+cttLe +rtistLinosLimsellto L+nooverto tLe co
oper+tiveLisye+r' s vork,+notLecooper+tiveinreturnunoer
t+kes to p+y Lim + montLly sum-+ minimum olS00rouLles
lor unknovn+rtists,risingto!000rouLlesormorelor+rtistsol
est+LlisLeoreput+tion.
TLeco-oper+tivesoonotseemtoL+ve+nyoimcultyinoispos
ing oltLevorks supplieo Ly tLe +rtists. 'lne' +rt, in tL+t v+st
repuLlicoll 80 million souls,is+sc+rcitycommooity.TLeoil
lculty is tLe +rtist. He m+y not proouce tLe qu+ntity olvork
specileointLecontr+ct.lor+ time tLecooper+tivem+y +llov
Lim to continue inits oeLt, Lutln+lly tLere is + crisis +no tLe
+rtist is expelleo. On tLe otLer L+no, il tLe +rtist proouces
more tL+nLepromiseo, +no tLe cooper+tive oisposes olit+ll,
ìeisentitleotoLissL+reoltLesurplus.
TLissystemis +omitteolyl+r in+ov+nceol+nytLingexisting
inc+pit+listcountries,LutlromtLepointolvievoltLe+rtistit
L+s tvo serious oelects. lt puts + premium on proouctivity or
l+cility,+noit+llovstLeco-oper+tive,+notLeCentr+lArtCom-
mitteevLicLcontrols+lltLecooper+tives, tooict+tetLekinool
+rt tL+t sLoulo or must Le proouceo. TLe lrst oL¡ection migLt
notseemverygr+vetotLepuLlic+tl+rge,vLosevorkisneces
s+rily ol + routine cL+r+cter. Ano +omitteoly tLere +re m+ny
+rtists-perL+ps tLe gre+t m+¡ority-vLo c+n turn out tLeir
p+intingsLytLesqu+reloot+notLeirLooksLytLep+gevitLtLe
regul+rity ol + sLoen+ker or + riveter. lut tLe exception+l
+rtist-+no it is tLe exceptions tL+t ve +re consioering-c+n
conlormtono sucLme+sureop+ce.Heisoepenoentonenoless
experiment+tion, on + slov process olgest+tion, +no on lltul
inspir+tion.He vorks Lyintuition+no not LyruleoltLumL,Le
m+y neeo lve ye+rs to proouce + single m+sterpiece, sLort
perioos ol cre+tive +ctivity +re lolloveo Ly long perioos ol
equ+lly cre+tive in+ctivity. Art oivorceo lrom inoustry is no
96 T H E C OL L E CTI V E PATR O N
longer +ninoustry,+noc+nnotlegoverneolytLeprinciplesof
inoustri+lorg+niz+tion.
lut serious +s tLis oelect is, itisnot soL+rmlul +s tLe oisci-
pìine+nocensorsLipvLicLsucL+lormolorg+niz+tionpermits
+no even implies. TLe cooper+tives +re in eEect + p+rt oltLe
st+te m+cLine, +no + close control oltLem is exerciseo lytLe
Centr+lArtCommittee,vLicListLeequiv+lentol+Ministryof
lineArtvorkingunoertLeoirectionoltLecentr+lgovernment.
Nov,+rtistoocloselyrel+teotoeouc+tion+noprop+g+no+tole
negìecteoly+tot+lit+ri+nregime,+notLecontrolol+rtinRus
si+ L+s in consequence lecome incre+singly strict, vitL l+t+l
resuìts. l +mnotrelerring to +nytLing tL+t migLt le excuseo +s
politic+l censorsLip. Art L+s leen conoemneo +no +rtists
imprisoneo or exileolor purely stylisticre+sons.TLere +reRus
si+n +rtists inLurope +no Americ+vLoL+veL+o to le+ve tLeir
country, not lec+use tLey vere politic+lly suspect, lut merely
lec+use tLey voulo not p+int in + n+tur+listic style. TLere +re
+rcLitectsvLoL+veleenexileolec+usetLeyreluseotoluiloin
tLeneocl+ssicstyle oltLeir gr+nol+tLers. Poets +nocomposers
+reinoisgr+celec+usetLeirverses oonotrLymeortLeirtunes
+re not melooic. 1no lor every one ol tLese +rtists vLo +re
knovn to us ve m+y le sure tLere +re m+ny vLo +re mute
lec+use tLey reluse to sulmit to tLe inoignity ol +ll sucL
restrictionsm+oeintLeinterestsolvulg+rityoroogm+tism.
P+tron+ge olsome kino is essenti+l, lut it is only toler+lìe
vLen +ccomp+nieolylilerty. P+tron+ge neeonotimply servi
tuoe. Truep+tron+geis+triluteto tLe genius oltLe+rtist+no+
recognition oltLe l+ct tL+t tLe qu+lity ve c+ll +rt c+nnot le
+ssesseoineconomicterms. l c+llit+ trilute, luttLis ooes not
imply tL+t it sLoulo le + cL+rity. TLe oem+no lor +rt, vLen
org+nizeo, vill le quite c+p+lle olsupporting tLe +rtist. TLe
Russi+n system,initslro+ooutlines, isessenti+llytLerigLt sys
tem lor + society committeo to inoustri+liz+tion. lree it lrom
lure+ucr+tic regiment+tion, lree it lrom politic+l intoler+nce,
TH E C OL L E CT I V E PAT R O N 97
+no tLen tLe +rtist` s collective coulo ensure, not only + l+sic
liveliLooo lor +ìl its memlers, lut lilerty to vork +t +n
inoiviou+lp+ce+noin+ninoiviou+lm+nner.
Art, inits collective+spect,voulolecometLep+tronolinoi
viou+l +rtists. TLe eviì oltLe olo system olp+tron+ge spr+ng
lromtLeinoiviou+ìismoltLep+tron.ltv+s tLep+tron' sv+nity,
Lis oesireto use tLe +rtist lor Lis ovnglorinc+tion, or lor tLe
oelenceolLisinterests,tL+toemor+ìizeotLe+rtist. No+rtistever
suEereolromtLegiltol+sinecureortLegr+ntol+pension.lut
+rtitsellv+s ino+ngerlec+useitseconomicl+sisv+soepeno
enton tLe vill ol+n inoiviou+lvLo v+snotLimsell+n +rtist,
+novLoL+onotnecess+rily+nyunoerst+noingol+rt.
An +rtist' s collective L+s +n Listoric+l +n+logy in tLe cr+lt
guilosoltLe Mioole Ages,lut +omitteoly, intLe mooern sense
+nounoermooernconoitions,itis+nuntrieoexperiment.lutl
see no +ltern+tive vLicL voulo give tLe +rtist economic
inoepenoence +no lilerty ol +ction. TLe true solution oltLis
prollem,+slL+veinsisteo+g+in+no+g+ininmyvritings,istLe
reintegr+tion ol+rt +no vork, so tL+t +rt lecomes simply tLe
qu+lit+tive +spect ol +ll tL+t is m+oe +no oone +no s+io in +
community.Ap+rtlromtLis,tLereisonlytLepossililitytL+ttLe
+rtistoltLeluturesLouloe+rnLislivinginsomequiteoiEerent
voc+tion +no pr+ctise Lis +rt inLis Lours olìeisure. TL+t is, ol
course,tLeconoitionunoervLicLm+ny+rtistsvorktoo+y.lut
vL+tsortolconceptionol+rtL+veveilveim+ginetL+titc+n
le proouceo ly tireo vorkers +t veekenos? Artin +nyvortLy
senseisnotonly+rouous,lutoem+nos+continuous+ppìic+tion
oltLel+culties,itrequirestLelull oispositionoltLevLolem+n,
ilnot in +ctu+ll+lour, tLen in olserv+tion, contempl+tion +no
p+ssive+v+reness.Artis+lulltimej ol.
TLe reintegr+tion ol+rt +no vork, +s l L+ve oelneo it else
vLere in tLis look, voulo +lsorl most olour ' prolession+l`
+rtists.tLe+rcLitect,tLesculptor,tLep+inter,tLecomposer,e+cL
L+s +n+tur+ìnicLeintLeinoustri+lLier+rcLy.OnlytLepoetis
æ
98 T H E C OL L E CT I V E PATR ON
excluoeo-tLepoetintLevioestsense,tLe seerorvision+ry
in
+ny meoium ol expression. TLe ' oivine liter+tus' is + soci+l
outc+st.HeistLeproouctolLis' contr+ryexperience` .
lltLe liLerty oltLe +rtist coulo Le gu+r+nteeo Ly Lis guilo,
tLen Le voulo, ol course, L+ve corresponoing outies, +
responsiLilitynotonlytoLisguilo,Lut+lsototLecommunity+s
+vLole.lutsucL outies+retooint+ngiLletoLeoefneo,orc+n
Le oefneo vitL simplicity +no trutL +s tLe outy to Le + gooo
+rtist.ltissometimess+iotL+ttLe+rtistisunoer+noLlig+tionto
m+ke Limsellunoerstooo. lut unoerstooo Ly vLom? ly ' tLe
m+n intLe street` ? OLviouslynot,otLerviseve sLoulo L+veto
conoemn tLe gre+terp+rt olourpoetry +nomusic. ly + select
lev? PossiLly, LutonlyiltL+t lev rem+inLiooen+no+nonym
ous, lor + coLerent lev Lecomes + sect or clique, +no tLeir
oem+nosrevive+lltLe+LusesoltLeolosystemolp+tron+ge.TLe
+rtistis re+llyresponsiLleto +Looymore univers+l +noremote.
to Lum+nity in its vioest consciousness +no fnest pover ol
perception. TLere +re m+ny +rtists ol t+lent, Lut gre+tness lies
precisely in tLis pover to re+lize +no even to lorec+st tLe
im+gin+tiveneeosolm+nkino.
8
TH E S ECRET OF SUCCESS
lntLisess+ylproposetooiscusstLesoci+ll+vs+nocustomstL+t
oetermine tLe success ol +rtists. Ve c+nnot Legin vitL tLe
+ssumptiontL+titissimply+questionolgeniusort+lent,lorve
knov tL+t m+ny +rtists vLo +re l+terrecognizeo +s gre+t +rtists
L+o no success in tLeir liletime, +no tL+t m+ny oltLose vLo
enjoyeo success in tLeir liletime +re l+ter lorgotten. lt is +lso
oLvious tL+ttLe successol+n+rtistinLisliletimeissometimes
L+seoonqu+litiesoiEerentlromtLoselorvLicLLeis+omireo
Ly+l+ter+ge.TLereistLerelore+verycomplexinterrel+tionsLip
olsever+ll+ctors, +mong vLicLitm+y notLee+sy to tr+ce tLe
oper+tionol+nyoefnitel+vs-cL+ncem+yinoeeopl+y + gre+t
p+rt in + felo vLere so m+ny oltLe l+ctors +re suLjective or
emotion+l.
Cenius is oimcult to oefne, +no ve sLoulo perL+ps limit
ourselves to + consioer+tion ol tLe more mooest enoovment
vLicLve c+lltalet. TLem+nolgeniusis+lv+ys+n 'outsioer'-
vL+tgeniusooes,+sCoetLes+io,isooneunconsciously,+notLe
successor tLeunsuccesstL+t+ttenos tLe vork olgeniusisnot
1 00 TH E S E C R ET O F S U CC E S S
tLeresultoltLe oper+tion ol+ny soci+ll+vs. A genius is like d
cometvLicLlor+Lrielmomentß+sLes +crosstLenigLtsky+no
oisturLstLenorm+lp+tternolst+rs,or,tospe+klessmet+pLoric
+lly, genius is + Liologic+l ' sport' +no notrepresent+tive oltLe
species+rtist.
Ve c+nnot excluoeunconsciousl+ctors lromouroiscussion,
+s l sL+ìl inoic+te l+ter, Lut lor tLe moment l voulo like to
consioer tLe norm+l m+tur+tion ol + t+lent, in p+inting lor
ex+mple,+no+skvL+tqu+litiesin tLe+rtist+novL+tconoitions
in society m+ke lor success. VitL qu+ìities so v+rious +no
conoitionssoinconst+nt, +nygener+liz+tionvillLeoimcult.
Let us Legin vitL tLe +rtist. Ve sL+ll +ssume +n initi+l
enoovment, +n inn+te sensiLility vLicL +t tLe +ppro+cL ol
+oultLooo m+nilests itsell in tLe oesire to Le +n +rtist. Here
Legins tLe lrst L+z+ro-tLe cLoice ol+ prolession. lt is Ly no
me+ns cert+in tL+t tLeinoiviou+linquestion, ontLe L+sis ol+
oiEuseo +estLetic sensiLility, vill Lit upon tLe rigLt cr+lt. P+ul
lleeLesit+teoLetveenp+inting+nomusic,+nove+regl+otL+t
LecLose p+inting.luttot+ke+p+interol+notLer+ge,lenj+min
RoLertH+yoon ¸l / 86-l 8+6)-tLis +rtist, in tLe LelieltL+t Le
v+s Lorn to Le + gre+t Listoric+l p+inter, expenoeo p+ssion+te
energy, +nolor + timev+s +Lle to convinceLiscontempor+ries
¸orsomeoltLem) tL+tLev+s+gre+t genius, LutintLeenoLe
l+ileomiser+Lly +no committeo suicioe. Helelt LeLino+Journal
vLicL isoneoltLemostinterestingoocumentsintLeliter+ture
ol +rt, Lrilli+ntly vritten, +no tLere c+n Le little oouLt tL+t il
H+yoonL+ocLosentoLe+vriterinste+ool+p+inter, LemigLt
L+ver+nkeovitL·cottorl+lz+c.
Letus+ssumetL+ttLepotenti+l+rtist ooesnotm+ke+mist+ke
oltLiskino-tL+tLem+kestLerigLtcLoiceolcr+lt.TLeoevel
opmentolLis t+lentvilltLenoepenoonsever+ll+ctors,tLefrst
+no most oLvious Leing Lis pLysic+l +no ment+l Le+ltL. His
sensiLility is +lre+oy+ reßectionolLis constitution, +no tLis in
its turn is conoitioneo Ly Lereoit+ry l+ctors +no Ly Lis e+rly
TH E S E C R E T O F S U CC E S S 1 01
upLringing ¸+g+in ve +re oirecteo to tLe unconscious, lor Lis
.+lentm+yoepenoonsucLl+ctors+stLesuccesslulsuLlim+tion
ol +ggressive instincts, tLe resolution oltLe Oeoip+l situ+tion,
integr+tion ol tLe person+lity, etc. ) . TLe vill to Le +n +rtist
emergeslromtremenoousinnerconßictsoltLiskino, +noitis
onìy vLen +ll tLese L+ve Leen resolveo ¸+no it is + proLlem
vLicLinvolvestLeinoiviou+l' srel+tionsLiptosociety+s+vLole
+s velì +sto Lis immeoi+te l+milyenvironment) , onlytLenc+n
Lel+cetLestilìconsioer+LleL+z+rosol+n+rtisticc+reer.
TLelrstolsucLL+z+rosiseouc+tion-LyvLicLlme+neou
c+tion outsioe tLe upLringing Lereceives inLis l+mily,puLlic
eouc+tion. TLis is perL+ps tLe gre+test L+z+ro ol +ll, Lec+use
tLere is no oouLt tL+t most systems oleouc+tion migLt L+ve
LeenoesigneooeliLer+telytostultilytLe+estLeticsensiLilityol+
cLilo. VitL r+re exceptions puLlic eouc+tion tLrougLout tLe
vorlo too+y concentr+tes on tLe inculc+tion ol intellectu+l
knovleoge,lor vLicLitrequirestLeoevelopmentolsucLl+cul
ties+s memory, +n+lysis,enumer+tion, cl+ssilc+tion+no gener
+liz+tion. TLese +re l+culties tL+tm+y eitLer oe+oen or oepress
tLe +estLetic sensiLility, vLicL neeos lor its oevelopment con
creteness, sens+tion+l +cuteness, emotion+l spont+neity, +tten
tion, contempl+tion, vLoleness olvision or +ppreLension, +no
gener+llyvL+tle+tsc+lleo' neg+tivec+p+Lility' .
TLe conßict Letveen tLe intellectu+l +no tLe +estLetic
+ppro+cL to eouc+tion v+s lrst cle+rlyre+lizeo Ly ·cLiller +no
LisAesthetische Briefe rem+intLecle+restst+tementoltLisinesc+p
+Lleoilemm+, + oilemm+vLicL isnotlikelyto LeresolveoLy
our r+tion+listic civiliz+tion. My ovn viev, vLicL l L+ve pre
senteo in sever+l Looks, is tL+t tLe psycLic imL+l+nce ol tLe
prev+iling systems oleouc+tion is oirectly responsiLle lor tLe
mor+loeìinquencyolourpopul+tions +no tLeirinevit+Lleorilt
to +nniLil+ting v+rs, Lut tL+t is + vioer +spectoltLe proLlem.
lortLemomentl+mconcerneovitLtLeeouc+tionoltLe+rtist,
+novem+yseetL+ttLeonly gre+t+rtistsinour civiliz+tion+re
1 02 T H E S E C R ET O F S U CC E S S
tLose vLo Lave manageo, eitLer Ly cLance or Ly oeliLerate
enort,toavoiotLeoeleteriousenectsolconventionaleoucation.
TLepuLlicimageoltLeartistisolpreciselysucLaperson-tLe
loLemian, tLe Outsioer-amanvLo LeLaves anoeven oresses
oinerently lrom ` tLe man in tLe street ` . ln a rationalistic
civilizationtLeartistisapariaL.
l Lave Leen speaking ol normal or puLlic eoucation, Lut
assuming tLat tLe vouloLe artistLas surviveo tLis Lazaro ano
stillpersistsinLisoesiretoLecomeanartist,LevoulotLenLave
tLe prospect olvLat is calleo 'art eoucation` . TLis can Le tLe
vorst Lazaro olall, ano a great many are slaugLtereo in tLese
acaoemic aLattoirs. TLe conßict Letveen traoition ano inoi-
vioualtalent (vLicL is tLe Lasic conßictin all lorms olsocial
aojustment) isnovnarroveooovntotLeproLlemolpersonal
expression, anotLevouloLeartisteitLerLasto accepttLeaca
oemiclormulas,vLicLmayextenotostyleanotreatmentasvell
as to more tecLnical questions ol materials ano metLoos ol
composition,orto assertLisovn vision. :uccessorlailuremay
oepenoontLeresolutionoltLis conßict. lltLe autLorityoltLe
acaoemyissupreme, asitvasinLuropetLrougLouttLe seven
teentL ano eigLteentL centuries, tLen success oepenos on tLe
acceptanceanoexploitationoltLeacaoemiclormulas.Naturally
an unintelligent repetition oltLese lormulas vill not leao to
success.tLe artist must unoerstanotLeir purposeanomayeven
suLtly mooily tLem to satisly Lis personal taste. lut to ignore
tLemaltogetLeristoincurneglect.AgoooillustrationlromtLe
Listory olLnglisL art is provioeo Ly tLe contrast Letveen the
ioealsanolortunesol:ir]osLuaReynolosanoLiscontemporary
Villiam llake. Reynolos vas Ly no means a narrov-minoeo
peoant, ontLe contrary,LevasamanolLroaosympatLiesano
` sveetreasonaLleness' , anoLisovngreatreputationasapainter,
not only in Lis ovn time Lut in tLe juogement olposterity,
makesLimanaomiraLleexamplelortLepurposeoltLisoiscus
sion.TLatLis successvas oue to sellimposeolimitations-Lis
TH E S E C R ET O F S U CC E S S 1 03
realization tLat LeLaono gilt lor poetical compositions intLe
granomanner,Lutmustconlne LimselltotLeinterpretationol
cLaracter-onlyaoosto tLeinterestanosignilcanceolLiscase.
HeLasLeenaccuseoolnotpractisingvLatLepreacLeo (inLis
Discourses) , Lut as Roger lry pointeo out in Lis eoition oltLe
Discourses (Lonoon, l 90S) , 'tLe notion tLatReynolos as a critic
ougLttoLaveLounoLimseìlvitLintLelimitsolLisovntalent
asanartist,tLatLevastorecommenootLerstooonomoretLan
LeLaoooneLimsell,ispalpaLlyaLsuro.ltisjustLecauseLeLao
tLegilt,anunusualoneamongartists,olrisingtoageneralviev
olart as a vLole, ano olregaroing Lis ovn perlormance vitL
oLj ectiveimpartiality,tLatLeissoremarkaLleasacritic' .
l l ve turn to tLe Discourses ve lno Reynolos recommenoing
tLat' animplicitoLeoiencetotLeRules of Art, asestaLlisLeoLytLe
practice oltLe great Masters, sLoulo Le exacteo lrom tLe young
stuoents. TLat tLose mooels, vLicL Lave passeo tLrougL tLe
approLation olages, sLoulo Le consioereo Ly tLem as perlect
ano inlalliLle guioes, as suLjects lor tLeir imitation, not tLeir
criticism' ' AnoLeaoos.
'I am confdent that this i s the onl y efcaci ous method of
maki ng a progress in the Arts; and that he who sets out wi th
doubti ng, wi l l fnd l i fe fni shed before he becomes master of the
rudi ments. For it may be l ai d down as a maxi m, that he who
begi ns by presumi ng on hi s own sense, has ended hi s studi es
as soon as he had commenced them. Every opportunity, there­
fore, shoul d be taken to di scountenance that fal se and vul gar
opi ni on, that rul es are the fetters of geni us; they are fetters onl y
to men of no geni us; as that armour, whi ch upon the strong i s
an ornament and a defence, u pon the weak and mi sshapen
becomes a l oad, and cri ppl es the body whi ch i t was made to
protect. '
TLat Reynolos Lao tLe excellence ol tLe art olpainting at
1 04 TH E S E C R E T L | S U CC E S S
Le+rtr+tLertL+nLisovnsoci+lsuccessi s nottoLeoouLteo, Lut
+g+in+no+g+inLepointsouttL+t' l+LouristLeonlypriceolsolid
fame' , me+ning Ly l+Lour + p+tientlolloving oltLe precepts ol
tLe Ac+oemy, +no Ly soìio l+me soci+l success. NevertLeless,
tov+rostLeenoolLis Discourses LeL+otLegenerosity to +omit
tL+tLyexception+m+nlikeC+insLorougLmigLt+rrive+texcel·
lence ¸ilnot vorloly success) in +voioing tLese precepts-'Le
lounoout +v+yolLisovnto +ccomplisLLispurpose' . lutLe
v+rneo Lis listeners +g+instlolloving tLis ex+mple, +no in tLe
eloquent conclusion to tLe Discourses Le once more +mrms tL+t
tLegre+testsuccessin+rtc+nnotLeoLt+ineoLy+nyotLerme+ns
tL+n gre+t l+Lour. Lven MicLel+ngelo, vLo 'migLt m+ke tLe
gre+test pretensions to tLe emc+cy ol n+tive genius +no
inspir+tion'-even MicLel+ngelo, +sLeLimsells+ioolR+pL+el,
`oionotpossessLis+rtlromn+ture,LutLylongstuoy' .
ALout l 808, tLirty ye+rs +lter tLey vere oelivereo, ll+ke
vrote some +nnot+tions in Lis copy ol tLe Discourses vLicL
sLoveotLere+ctionoln+tive genius to sucL+m+n+sReynolos
+notoLisprecepts. 'TLis m+n, ` Le oecl+reo, `v+sfreoLy:+t+n
to oepress +rt, ` +no ll+ke L+o ' notLing Lut inoign+tion +no
resentment'to express+sLere+otLeoiscoursesolonevLoL+o
Leen' +ppl+uoeo+norev+roeoLytLericL+nogre+t ' . `lconsioer
Reynolos' sDiscourses totLeRoy+lAc+oemy +s tLesimul+tionsol
tLeLypocritevLosmilesp+rticul+rlyvLereLeme+nstoLetr+y.
His pr+ise olR+l+el is like tLe Lysteric smile olrevenge. His
soltness +no c+noour, tLe Liooen tr+p +no poisoneo le+st. He
pr+ises MicLel+ngelo lor qu+lities vLicL MicLel+ngelo
+LLorreo, +no Le Ll+mes R+l+el lor tLe only qu+lities vLicL
R+l+el v+lueo'-tLere is mucL more vituper+tion oltLis kino,
+Loutlortyp+gesolit,Lut+p+rtlrom+oelence olll+ke' sovn
styleinp+inting ¸oeline+tion+s+g+instcLi+roscuro) tLeyreturn
+g+in +no +g+in to tvo tLemes. tr+oition +no inoiviou+l t+lent,
+nop+tron+ge.Reynolos 'mockeo'inspir+tion+novision ¸' tLen
+nonov,+nolLopevill+lv+ysrem+in,myelement,myetern+l
TH E S E C R ET OF S U CC E S S
ovellingpl+ce' ) +noLeriggeotLe m+rket inl+vour olLisov

kino ol+rt-` tLe ricL men olLngl+no lorm tLemselves into +
society to sell +nonotto Luy pictures. TLe +rtist vLo ooes not
tLrovLiscontemptonsucLtr+oing exLiLitions, ooesnotknov
eitLerLisovninterestorLisouty . . . TLeinquiryinLngl+nois
not vLetLer + m+n L+s t+lents +no genius, Lut vLetLer Le is
p+ssive+nopolite+no+virtuous+ss+nooLeoienttonoLlemen' s
opinionsin+rt+noscience.llLeis, Lei s+gooom+n.llnot,Le
mustLest+rveo. '
ltm+y seem tL+t tLis qu+rrel LetveenReynolos +noll+ke is
irrelev+nt to tLesecret olsuccess in+rttoo+y. lt is true tL+t in
some countries tLe +c+oemies ol tLe eigLteentL century no
longer exercise tLe s+me oegree olpover, Lut tLey still L+ve
pover +mong tLe Lourgeoisie, +no +n +rtist' s election to tLe
+c+oemy usu+lly c+rries vitL it soci+l +no economic success.
:uccess,olcourse,is+n+mLiguousconcept, +novemust+lv+ys
oistinguisL, +s tLe lrencL oo, Letveen un succes d'estime +no un
succes fou. lut vL+t LotL Reynolos +no ll+ke +re s+ying is tL+t
successisl+rgelyoepenoentonperson+lqu+lities-l+LourintLe
one c+se, inspir+tion in tLe otLer. Assuming tLe possession ol
inn+tesensiLility,vemigLtconcluoetL+te+cLqu+lityle+osto+
oiEerent kino olsuccess, Lut unlortun+tely tLe +rtist olsolio
l+mevill+lv+ysenvytLeinspir+tionoltLen+tivegenius,vLile
tLen+tive+nountutoreogeniusvill+lv+ysenvytLe soliol+me
oltLe+rtistvLoL+ssucceeoeoLytLe+ssiououscultiv+tionol+
mooestt+lent.
AnotLer person+l l+ctor in +cLieving success, +lmost +s
import+nt+sgeniusorlongstuoy,isvL+tve migLtc+llcL+rm
¸tLougL some +rtists c+n exploit + reput+tion lor Leing
' oimcult'-+nticL+rm) . TLis qu+lity isperL+ps too oLvious to
Le vortL mentioning, Lut lrom one' s ovn oLserv+tion oltLe
vorlool+rtoneseesvL+t+oiEerence+n+rtist sperson+lityc+n
m+ke. lt is not merely +n +Lility to est+LlisL e+sy rel+tionsLips
vitL Lis lellov+rtists, vitL oe+lers +no collectors, museum
1 OS
1 06 T H E S E C R ET O F S U CC E S S
oirectors +no critics. All tLis is more likely to Lelp tLe secono·
r+te +rtist tL+n tLe gre+t +rtist, vLo c+n +Eoro to ignore sucL
refnements ¸+sMicLel+ngelooio,orC+uguin) .lutsincem+n' s
cL+r+cterisLisoestiny,itooeslollovtL+ttLepuLlicim+geol+n
+rtist vill Le lormeo, not only on tLe oLjective evioence olLis
vork,LutontLesoci+limp+ctolLisLeL+viour.TLereisnosurer
ro+oto success tL+n tLe cre+tion ol+legeno.tLep+rtpl+yeoLy
tLeirrom+ntic, err+tic, ormerelyoistressinglivesintLe success
¸+l+s,lortLemostp+rtpostLumous) ol+rtistslikeC+uguin,V+n
CogL,Mooigli+ni,Utrillo,c+nnotLeignoreo.lut+legenogrows:
itc+nnotLe oeliLer+tely cre+teo, tLougLsome +rtists, vLol+ck
otLerme+nsto success, sometimes m+ketLe +ttempt. Alegeno,
ve migLt s+y, is not cre+teo vitLout suEering (malheur) : very
oiEerent +re tLose reput+tions vLicL +re tLe proouct olskillul
puLlicity. TLe ' stunt` , sucL +s pr+ctiseo in our time so success
lullyLy ·+lv+oorD+li +noCeorgesM+tLieu, is +rtreoeemeoLy
tLe+rtsolpuLlicity.
TLe lunctionolpuLlicitymust,olcourse, Let+kenseriously
Ly tLe contempor+ry +rtist, il only Lec+use Le is p+rt ol +n
economic system tL+tlunctionstLrougLtLismeoium ¸tLesitu
+tionissomevL+toiEerentintLecommunistsystem, Lutletus
excluoetLiscomplic+tionlor tLemoment) . TLelileol+n+rtist
in tLe c+pit+list vorlo must Le l+rgely preoccupieo vitL tLe
proLlems olexLiLition+nos+le.Avery complex s+lesorg+niz+
tionnov exists, l+rgely in tLe L+nos olpriv+te oe+lers Lut not
excluoing +rtists' societies,vLicL +re cooper+tive s+les org+n
iz+tions usu+lly lor tLe Lenelt ol +rtists vLo L+ve not yet
+cquireo sußcient reput+tion to +ttr+ct tLe interest ol+ oe+ler.
·+les to collectors oo still t+ke pl+ce oirectly vitLout tLe inter
meoi+ry ol+ oe+ler, Lut it is olten + conoitionoltLe contr+ct
Letveen+n+rtist+no+oe+lertL+t+ll s+les sLoulop+ss tLrougL
tLe oe+ler' s L+nos-+n+rr+ngementvLicLs+vestLe +rtist+ lot
oltrouLle+nosecures+unilormsc+leolprices.
De+lersL+ve tLeirovn metLoos olpromotion +nopuLlicity
TH E S E C R E T O F S U CC E S S
+notLesuccessoltLesem+yoeterminetLesuccessoltLe+rtist.
TLereisnoex+ctcorresponoenceLetveentLequ+lityoltLe+rt
+notLesuccessoltLe+rtist, +sin+nyotLercompetitivespLere,
it is possiLle to sell +n inlerior proouct Ly superior s+les
org+niz+tion-+norg+niz+tiontL+tm+yextenotoeveryvileol
tLe +overtising prolession. Vorks ol+rt +re nov +s suLject to
skillul promotion +s cosmetics or cig+rettes. TLe success tL+t
comes lrom sucL metLoos is, Lovever, +lv+ys suLject to
inoepenoentcriticism,+notL+tisvLytLeexistenceolorg+nsol
inoepenoentcriticism,+noolincorruptiLlecritics,issoessenti+l
inourtime.ltsLouloLeimpossiLleinquestionsolt+stetolool
+ìltLepuLlic+lltLetime,Lutinl+ct, once+n+rtistL+sLecome
l+sLion+LleLyclevermetLoosolpuLlicity,itt+kesm+nyye+rsol
p+tient criticism to oestroyLis l+lsereput+tion-so lev people
re+oseriouscriticism.
TLerôleoll+sLion,iltL+tc+nLesep+r+teolromtLemetLoos
olpuLlicity,isinexplic+Lle.TLere+rec+sesol+rtistsvLo,vitL
out +nyprep+r+tory puLlicity, +no vitLout+ny cl+im to gre+t
ness, L+ve suooenly Lecome successlul overnigLt. TLeir vorks
+re sLovn in + g+llery lor tLe lrst time, +novitLout +ny le+o
lromtLecriticsor+nypersu+sionlrompuLlicity, tLeyimmeoi
+telysell. ¸MucLmorecommon,olcourse,istLec+seoltLe+rtist
vLosevorkisvellreceiveoLy tLe critics,vell+overtiseo, Lut
completelyl+ilsto+ttr+cttLepuLlic. ) Onec+nonlysupposetL+t
tLe+rtistintLisc+seL+sLy cL+nces+tisfeosomerepresseoneeo
in tLe collective unconscious-tLere is ex+ctly tLe s+me pLe
nomenoninliter+ture,tLenovelvLicL,lorinexplic+Llere+sons,
Lecomes+Lest-seller.
TLe element olcL+nce tLerelorepl+ys + consioer+Lle p+rtin
tLe+cLievementolsuccess-l+r more tL+n+ r+tion+l critic like
·ir ]osLu+ Reynolos voulo +llov. lut tLis is to consioer only
L+ppy cL+nces, tLe pLenomenon +lso L+s its neg+tive +spects.
TLel+ckolsuccessouringtLeirliletimesolm+ny+rtistsvLo+re
postLumously recognizeom+y Le oue to person+lqu+lities ol
1 07
1 08 T H E S E C R ET O F S UC C E S S
oimoence, +s l L+ve +lre+oy suggesteo, or to incompetent
metLoosols+lesm+nsLip,Lutitm+yLejustL+oluck.Ap+rtlrom
tLe L+o luck ol Leing Lorn in + remote province, or + sm+ll
country ¸cL+nces vLicL +mict tLe poet mucL more severely
tL+n tLe p+inter) , +p+rt lrom tLe L+o luck ol Leing Lorn to
povertyorvitLpLysic+l oelects ¸sucL +sL+oeyesigLt) , tLereis
+n element ol l+t+lity in +ny +rtist' s c+reer vLicL c+nnot Le
controlleo. ·o mucL oepenos, invL+t is +t +ll times + g+meol
cL+nce,upontLepeopleve meet+notLe pl+ces ve visit.M+ny
+rtists L+ve recoroeo tLe oecisive import+nce olsome str+nge
meeting, olsome person+l inßuence tL+t c+me into tLeir lives
vitL tr+nslorming eEect. TLe imp+ct ol M+s+ccio on lr+
Angelico is perL+ps tLe typic+l ex+mple. TLe oevelopment ol
coloni+lism ouring tLe nineteentL century +no tLe consequent
import+tion ol +n LitLerto unknovn type ol +rt-tLe triL+l
sculpture ol Alric+ +no Oce+ni+-is +n ex+mple lrom tLe
mooernperioo.
TLere is one lurtLer element vLicL ve mustnov t+ke into
+ccount, tLe mostimp+lp+Lle ol+ll-tLe 2eitgeist. TLis is + Cer
m+nconceptvLicLL+sLeent+kenoverLytLerestoltLevorlo
+nolvillnotpresumetooelneitlor+Cerm+n+uoience.P+rtly
itis tLequestionoll+sLionvLicLlL+ve+lre+oyoe+ltvitL,Lut
l+sLionis+nepipLenomenon, confneo tolimiteocircles +nool
limiteo our+tion. TLe Zeitgeist is sometLing tL+t perv+oes +
vLole epocL +no penetr+tes +ll its intellectu+l m+nilest+tions.
TLere is no esc+ping it, Lut nevertLeless some +rtists +re less
suLjecttoitsinßuencetL+notLers+notLese+reoltentLegre+t-
est +rtists. l L+ve +lre+oymentioneoll+ke, +no +s + poetr+tLer
tL+n+ visu+l +rtist Leis+s gooo +n ex+mple +s couloLe louno
+nyvLere.A comp+r+LleCerm+npoet isHoloerlin,LutperL+ps
Le L+o more symp+tLetic unoerst+noing lrom tLe c+rpenter,
Zimmer, vitLvLomLeliveo ouringtLelong ye+rsolLis m+o-
ness,tL+nlrom contempor+rieslikeCoetLe+no·cLiller. lntLe
pl+stic +rts H+ns von M+r�es is + typic+l c+se. lnoeeo, it is
T H E S E C R ET O F S U CC E S S 1 09
gener+lly true, +sVorosvortL s+io,tL+t+n origin+l +rtistL+sto
cre+te tLe +uoience tL+t c+n +ppreci+te Lisvork. ln every +rtist
tLereis+proselytizer.
lin+lly tLere is + gener+l sociologic+lproLlemvLicL isp+r
ticul+rly serious in oemocr+tic societies +no lor vLicL, vitLin
tLegener+lconceptoloemocr+cy, tLereisno oLvioussolution.
·uccess in +rt, +s in+nyotLerfelo ol+ctivity, implies oistinc
tion, +no in + c+pit+list society, it implies rel+tive ve+ltL. lt is
inoeeo one ol tLe +nom+lies ol communist society, +s it h+s
evolveo in Russi+ +no CLin+, tL+t tLe very concept ol +rtist
implies +n elite, +no +rtists in tLese communist societies enjoy,
not only + LigLer st+tus, Lut privileges ol m+ny kinos, not
excluoingfn+nci+lones.ltistruetL+t,especi+llyinCLin+,tLese
privileges L+ve to Le enjoyeo mooestly +no unoLtrusively, Lut
nevertLelesstLeyexist.
TLisproLlemv+srecognizeoLytLegre+testoemocr+ticsoci
ologistolourtime,l+rlM+nnLeim.Hes+vit+s+speci+lc+seol
tLegener+lproLlemolreconciling ' lreeoom' ¸vLicLtLe +rtist
neeosilLeistolunction+s+n+rtist) vitLtLe oemocr+ticioe+l
ol' equ+lity' . lngener+l terms tLe solutionlies in giving +rt+n
org+niclunctionvitLin tLe lile oltLe community. M+nnLeim
recognizeo tLe o+ngers implicit in tLe concept ol art engage
¸soci+listre+lism, prop+g+no+ +rt, etc. ) LutLe tLougLt tL+t tLe
opposite extreme ol! 'artpour ! 'art v+s equ+lly o+ngerous. ln tLe
nineteentL century, lor ex+mple, ' tLe soci+lposition ol+ l+rge
sectionoltLeintellectu+lelite v+stL+toltLeLoLemi+n,vitLout
corpor+te ties, vitLout + velloefneo pl+ce in society, tLe
memLers oltLis groupliveoin+ curiousmilieuinvLicL sell
styleo or genuine men ol genius vere tLrovn togetLer vitL
Ll+cksLeeplrom+ristocr+ticorLourgeoisl+milies,declasse orilt
ers, prostitutes, m+tinee iools, +no otLer lugitives lrom org+n
izeo society. . . . All tLis exerteo + consioer+Lle inßuence upon
tLeirtLinking . . . . ·ucLintellectu+lsvillcultiv+te+setolv+lues
l+rremoveolromtLeconcernsoloroin+rypeople. '
&
l l Q TH E S E C R ET O F S U C C E S S
M+nnLeimv+s optimisticenougLtotLinktL+t tLissitu+tion
coulo Le cL+ngeo in + oemocr+tic society, not Ly m+king tLe
+rtist+prop+g+noistor+politic+llyconsciousinoiviou+l,LutLy
+processol' integr+tion' ,vLicL,Lovever, Leooesnot oennein
oet+il. He merely +ssumes tL+t ' +s oemocr+tiz+tion progresses,
tLe ties Letveen tLe intellectu+l str+t+ +no society +t l+rge +re
likely to Lecome closer +no more org+nic. TLis neeo not me+n
tL+t +rt vill Lecome cruoelyprop+g+noist,Lut only tL+titvill
L+ve+moreorg+niclunctioninliletL+n! 'art pour ! 'art L+o. '
TLesevorosverevritteni n l 9 3 3, LuttLeDemokratisierung des
Geistes to vLicL M+nnLeim lookeo lorv+ro L+s novLere Leen
m+nilestintLe oemocr+ticvorlo.lnste+o+rtL+sLecomemore
+nomore +Lstruse +noesoteric,more+nomore removeo lrom
tLe concerns oloroin+ry people. To c+ll tLis oevelopment tLe
cult ol!'art pour !'art ooes not solve tLe proLlem, +no is not +
scientinc oi+gnosis ol+ pLenomenon nov so univers+l +no so
spiritu+llysigninc+nt+s+Lstr+ct +rt. Onec+n expl+in +Lstr+ct+rt
insociologic+lterms-+stLe+rtol+ civiliz+tion +lien+teo lrom
n+ture +no lrom org+nic processes ol proouction-Lut tLis
merelyme+nstL+t+ oemocr+tic inoustri+l society L+sproouceo
+n +ppropri+te type ol+rt. M+nnLeim inoeeo recognizeo tL+t
' tLereis+nintrinsiccorrel+tionLetveentLeincre+sing+Lstr+ct
nessoltLesymLolsuseoincommunic+tion,+notLeoemocr+tic
cL+r+cter oltLe culture.
E
lites vLicL +re not impelleo to m+ke
tLeirknovleogegener+lly +ccessiLlevillnoteng+geinlorm+l-
iz+tion, +n+lysis,+no+rticul+tion.TLeyvillcontenttLemselves,
eitLer vitL un+n+lyseo intuition, or vitL s+creo knovleoge
reserveo lor +n elite +no L+noeo oovn +mong its memLers en
bloc . '
TLe +rtist i n tLe mooern oemocr+tic society, M+nnLeim
tLougLt,voulogr+ou+llysurrenoerLis esotericism Lec+use in
sucL + society tLere is + tenoency to L+r qu+lit+tive elements
lrom its experience in l+vour olgre+ter communic+Lility. lut
tLis is not vL+t L+s L+ppeneo in tLe Vestern Vorlo, on tLe
T H E S E C R ET O F S U CC E S S 1 1 1
contr+ry, +no in spite ol tLe spre+o ol inlorm+tion tLrougL
meoi+liketelevision+notLenlm, tLereis+nincre+singoivorce
Letveen +rt, vLicL incre+ses in concreteness +no sell
sumciency, +no tLose meoi+ olcommunic+tion, sucL +s llm,
television+notLePress,vLicLcommunic+teotLrougLpopul+r
im+ges. TLeresultistL+ttLere+retoo+ytvooistinctcriteri+ol
success. tLesucces d' estime vLicLis connneoto +n elite ¸+lLeit +n
elite olconsioer+Lleoimensions) +nosuccess+mongtLeliter+te
m+sses vLicL is conveyeo tLrougL quite oinerent meoi+ ol
communic+tion. TLe necessity olusing tLese ugly neologisms
(elite, m+ss, meoi+ olcommunic+tion) is +n inoic+tion ol tLe
unpreceoenteo n+ture ol tLis cultur+l situ+tion. M+nnLeim' s
Lope or Leliel tL+t tLese criteri+ voulo eventu+lly merge
togetLer, tL+tqu+ntit+tivejuogementsvoulosuperseoequ+lit+
tive juogements in + oemocr+tic society, isre+lly + conlession
tL+tthe+ristocr+ticioe+lsolnne+rtL+venopl+cein+neg+lit+r-
i+noemocr+cy. ltis+conclusiontL+tv+sre+cLeo, onoiEerent
grounos,Ly LotLNietzscLe+nolurckL+rot,itis+oilemm+tL+t
too+ypresentsusvitLitsn+keo+nounresolveocontr+oictions.
9
TH E FRE EDOM OF TH E ARTIST
The bourgeois believe that liberty consists i n absence of
social organi zati on; that liberty i s a negative quality, a depriv­
ation of exi sti ng obstacles to it; and not a positive quality, the
reward of endeavour and wi sdom . . . . Because of this basic
fallacy this type of i ntellectual always tries to cure positive
social evils, such as wars, by negative i ndi vidual acti ons, such
as non-co-operati on, passive resistance or conscientious
objection. This i s because he cannot rid hi mself of the
assumption that the i ndi vi dual is free. But we have shown
that the i ndividual i s never free. He can only obtain freedom
by social co-operati on. He can only do what he wants by usi ng
social forces . . . . But i n order to use social relati ons he must
understand them. He must become conscious of the laws of
society, just as, if he wants to lever up a stone, he must know
the laws of levers.
Christopher Caudwell, Studies in U Dying Culture (1 938) .
OneoltLemost oLviousgeneralizationslromtLe Listory olart
isto tLeenecttLatatvarioustimesintLepast oinerentconcep-
tionsoltLetecLniqueanocontentolartLaveprevaileo,LuttLat
in tLeir time tLese conceptions vere alvays regaroeo as tLe
T H E F R E E DOM OF TH E A RT I ST 1 1 3
normalmooeolexpression.To tLe oegree tLatveare avare ol
tLis relativity in stanoaros, ve sLall accept as perlectly natural
ano inevitaLle tLat tLe peculiar social conoitions olour time
sLoulogiverisetoanoriginal styleolart.TLatpossiLilityLeing
granteo,ve migLtlurtLerregaroitasalsoperlectlynatural tLat
tLere sLoulo Le a time-lag in puLlic appreciation, ano tLat tLe
nevlormolartsLoulolnoitsellinoppositiontotLetraoitions
inLeriteolrom tLe immeoiate past. lut tLe special cLaracter ol
tLe contemporary situationistLattLereis notanartvLicLve
cancallspecilcallymooern, LutatleastlourstylesolartvLicL
maketLatclaim.Ve LaveintLelrstplacetLe specilcallymoo
ern stylesLestoelneoLy tLevorossuperrea]ism anoconstructivism,
styles vLicL, tLe more logically tLey oevelop, tLe more
incompatiLle vitL one anotLer tLey seem to Lecome. lut to
completetLepicturcolarttooay,vemustLeprepareotoaomit
tLe inoepenoent existence ol tvo lurtLer styles. realism ano
expressionism.
lyrealismvemeantLatstyleolartvLicLattemptstorepre
senttLeoLj ectiverealityoltLe externalvorlo. TLevoro 'real
ism' can Le useo in a narrover sense, toinoicate a style olart
tLatconcentratesonscenesol lovlile,oronmorLioorLorriLle
oetails, Lut tLatisnotaverylogicaluse oltLeterm.Realism is
also conluseovitL naturalism, Lut tLat voro eitLer means tLe
same as realism, ano is tLerelore unnecessary, or it inoicates
sometLing more restricteo tLan realism-tLat aspect ol tLe
vorloveLaLituallyioentilyas' nature' . trees, ßovers,lanoscape
generally, ano even Luman nature. ln spite ol its amLiguity,
realism is tLe rigLt pLilosopLical term to oescriLe tLat vLole
scLool olart, in literature as vell as in tLe plastic arts, vLicL
enoeavours to give an exact representation ol tLe external or
oLj ectivevorlo,orratLer,olselectoetailsoltLatvorlo.
Lxpressionism,too,isLaseoontLeoLservationoltLeexternal
vorlo, Lut it no longer pretenos to Le oLjective. lt aomits tLat
tLe recoroing instrument, tLe artist, is a sensitive or suLjective
4
1 1 4 TH E F R E E DO M OF T H E A RT I S T
element,+noitsuggeststL+tLisvievol tLevorloisnecess+rily
+necteo Ly Lis emotion+lre+ction to vL+t Le sees.TLe expres-
sionist+rtistm+yLelieve intLe existenceol+noLj ectivere+lity,
Lut tL+tre+lity is merely LypotLetic+l, +no tLe re+l re+lity, tLe
only re+lity vLicL tLe +rtist c+n l+itLlully recoro, is tLe sen-
s+tionprovokeoinLisminoLytLisextern+l+gent.Ac+mer+, Le
voulo s+y, m+y conceiv+Lly recoro tLe extern+l le+tures ol ·ir
Vinston CLurcLill, Lut tL+t is not tLe Vinston CLurcLill l
+ppreLeno vitL my senses, nor L+s it +ny corresponoence to
tLe emotion+l re+ctions vLicL t+ke pl+ce vLenever l Lecome
+v+re ol ·ir Vinston CLurcLill. ll l p+int vL+t l see +no +t
tLe s+me time leel, it vill not Le like + c+mer+ portr+it ol·ir
Vinston CLurcLill. it vill Le more like vL+t voulo Le c+lleo
+ c+ric+ture ol Lim. lt vill, in sLort, Le expressive r+tLer
tL+nre+listic.
llveoivioe +rt into tLese lour groups tLenl tLinkve sL+ll
lnotL+ttLeycover+lltLem+nilest+tionsol+rtistic +ctivity t+k
ingpl+cetoo+y,+noinoeeo,+lltLem+nilest+tionstL+tL+veever
t+ken pl+ce intLep+st. TLe onlypeculi+rity +Lout tLe situ+tion
too+yistL+t+lllourtypesol+rtistic+ctivitytenotot+kepl+ce+t
tLes+metime,vLere+sintLep+sttLeempL+sisL+stenoeotoLe
on one or otLer oltLe lour types to tLe exclusion oltLe otLer
tLree.VL+tl tLink itis still necess+ry tore+lize is tL+t +ll lour
types ol +ctivity +re n+tur+l, +no tL+t inoeeo tLey correspono
ex+ctly to lour types ol ment+l +ctivity vLicL L+ve + long
tr+oition+l Listory, +no vLicL L+ve Leen reviveo Ly mooern
psycLology.
TLeLum+nmino isnot + regionvLicLc+nLe cL+rteovitL
+nyex+ctituoe,LutpsycLologistsL+ve resorteo to cert+inscLe
m+ticrepresent+tionstL+tLelptogiveus+cle+rpictureolvL+t
is+noLscure+nocomplexre+lity.TLep+rticul+rlormul+vLicL
ve sLoulolno most uselul is tL+t el+Lor+teoin gre+t oet+il Ly
]ung, Lut +ctu+lly, +s]ung +cknovleogesinLisLookon Psycho­
logical Types, tLe m+in +re+s +no Louno+riesL+ve Leen gr+ou+lly
TH E F R E E D OM O F T H E A RT I ST 1 1 5
evolveo Ly tLe gener+lscience olpsycLology. Here' ve oo not
neeo to gomucLLeyono tLese +ccepteocommonpl+ces, vLicL
m+ke + oistinction Letveen lour prim+ry lunctions ol tLe
mino-lour+ctivitiesorl+cultiesvLicLcoexistintLeminool
every inoiviou+l +novLicLvec+ll Thinking, Feeling, Intuition +no
Sensation.
Nov,tLougLitisconceiv+LletL+ttLeminoisc+p+Lleolst+tes
olpuretLougLt,pureleeling,puresens+tion+nopureintuition,
mostolits+ctivityisol+mixeon+ture,+not+kespl+ceLetveen
tLese c+roin+l points. TLus, tLougLt p+sses imperceptiLly into
intuitivetLougLt,vLicLvec+llspecul+tion,tLentLrougLintu
itionintointuitiveleeling, tLrougLleelingintosensoryleeling,
tLrougLsens+tionintosensorytLinking (orvL+tvec+llempir
ic+ltLougLt) ,+nosoL+cktotLinking.lutin+nyinoiviou+l,one
ortLeotLeroltLelourprim+rylunctionsoltLeminovillteno
topreoomin+te, +no+ccoroingto|ung+nootLerpsycLologists,
vL+tvec+lltLecL+r+cteroltLe1noiviou+l-tLepsycLologic+l
type to vLicL Le Lelongs-is oetermineo Ly tLe p+rticul+r
L+l+nceest+LlisLeoLetveentLelourprim+rylunctions.
TLe pl+stic +rts +re, ol course, +ll expresseo tLrougL tLe
meoiumolsens+tion, Lutwhat tLeyexpressistLeminoorper
son+lityoltLe+rtist.llvec+noistinguisLlourtypesolment+l
person+lity, tLere sLoulologic+lly Lelour corresponoing types
ol+rt-+noveL+ve+lre+oylounotL+ttLere+reloursucLtypes.
ltonlyrem+insto ioentily e+cLtypeol+rtvitLitscorrespono-
ing psycLologic+l lunction, +no tLis ooes not present +ny oil
lculty. A oet+ileo oemonstr+tion ol tLese corresponoences
involves psycLologic+l tecLnic+lities vLicL voulo Le out ol
pl+ceintLepresent gener+less+y,+novLicLin+ny c+se+reol
purely scLem+tic v+lue. lor it must Le repe+teoly empL+sizeo
tL+t tLere +re no ex+ct limits Letveen tLese oivisions olmino
I have discussed the subject in greater detail in Education Through Art, especially
in a chapter on 'Temperament and Expression' .
1 1 6 TH E F R E E DOM OF T H E A RT I S T
+no ol+rt. tLey merge into one +notLer, +no Letveen re+lism
+no constructivism, Letveen constructivism +no superre+lism,
Letveen superre+lism +no expressionism, +no ln+lly Letveen
expressionism +no re+lism, ve get intermeoi+te types ol +rt
vLicL lusetLougLt+nointuition,intuition+noleeling,leeling
+nosens+tion,orsens+tion+notLougLt.
lL+veonlyintroouceotLispsycLoìogic+lcomp+risontom+ke
cle+r vL+t l consioer to Le tLe most striking +cLievement ol
mooern +rt-+n +cLievement olvLicL it is not yet conscious.
Mooern +rt L+s Lroken tLrougL tLe +rtilci+l Louno+ries +no
limit+tionsvLicLveoveto+onesioeo+noprejuoiceovievol
tLeLum+n person+lity.MooernpsycLologyL+s sLovn tL+t tLe
mino olm+niscomplex, tL+t it is+ L+l+nceollorces-olv+ri
ous impulses orunconscious ' orives' , +notL+ttLev+rious psy
cLologic+l types into vLicL Lum+n Leings c+n Le oivioeo +re
oetermineo Ly tLe preoomin+nce olone p+rticul+r impulse or
group ol impulses. VL+t l +m s+ying, tLerelore, is simple
enougL +no sLoulo +lv+ys L+ve Leen +omitteo. n+mely, tL+t
tLere is not one type ol+rt to vLicL +ll types olmen sLoulo
conlorm,Lut+sm+nytypesol+rt+stLere+retypesolmen, +no
tL+t tLe c+tegories into vLicL ve oivioe +rt sLoulo n+tur+lly
correspono to tLe c+tegories into vLicL ve oivioe men. TLis
st+tementooesnotexcluoetLepLilosopLic+lproLlemolvalue, to
vLicLlsL+llcomepresently,l+mnotsuggestingtL+ttLereisno
possiLiìityolm+kingj uogements+LouttLev+rioustypesol+rt,
orolm+n.lutlrom+scientilcpointolviev, e+cLtypeol+rtis
tLelegitim+teexpressionol+typeolment+lperson+lity.lrom+
scientilc point ol viev, tL+t is to s+y, re+lism +no ioe+lism,
expressionism +no constructivism +re +ll n+tur+l pLenomen+,
+notLev+rring scLoolsintovLicLmenoivioetLemselves+re
merelytLeproouctsolignor+nce+noprejuoice.Atrueeclecti
cismc+n +nosLouloenjoy+lltLem+nilest+tionsoltLe cre+tive
impulseinm+n.
llve couloim+gine+ societyinvLicL e+cLinoiviou+lpur
TH E F R E E D OM OF T H E A RT I ST
sueo Lis course in inoepenoence, L+ppily prooucing vL+t Le
wisLeo to proouce vitLout interlerence lrom Lis neigLLours,
tìen in sucL + community e+cL type ol +rtist coulo express
ìimseìlintLem+nnervLicLLelounomost+pt.Constructivists
+nosuperre+ìists,re+lists+noexpressionists, coulolive+novork
sioe Ly sioeinperlect+mity.l oo notsuggesttL+t sucL+ com
munity olinoiviou+ls is too ioe+listic to contempl+te, it is, in
l+ct, tLeioe+ltov+rosvLicLvesLoulo+im.lut +ctu+lly, Lere
+nonov,veliveincommunitiesol+veryoiEerentcL+r+cter.AU
tLe v+rious societies vLicL togetLer m+ke up mooern civiliz+
tion+reinl+ctLigLlyorg+nizeo+nocomplex, +no+ccoroingto
tLeirtypeolorg+niz+tiontLeyencour+ge+p+rticul+rtypeol+rt,
orevenoiscour+ge+lltypesol+rt.
Mooern societies c+n Le oivioeo into tvo gener+l types-
oemocr+tic +no tot+lit+ri+n. lt is true tL+t you migLt lno, in
lnoi+ortLeP+cilcOce+n, +sm+llst+tevLicLstillrepresenteo+
oiEerent conception ol society-leuo¬l or communist-Lut
sucL societies +re vestigi+l. TLe gener+l orilt olmooern eco
nomic lorces compels societyingener+l to +oopt one orotLer
ol tLe complex +no LigLly org+nizeo lorms vLicL ve c+ll
oemocr+tic +notot+lit+ri+n. ln tLeory, tLe oistinctionLetveen
tLese tvo lorms is very sL+rp-inoeeo, it is so irreconcil+Lle
tL+t it L+s leo repe+teoly to oe+tLly conßict. ln pr+ctice, +no
p+rticul+rly unoer tLe stress olv+r, tLere is + tenoency lor tLe
tvolormsto +pproxim+te-tLetot+lit+ri+nm+kingconcessions
olliLertyintLeinterests olmor+le, tLeoemocr+ticel+Lor+ting
+ centr+lizeo control in tLe interests ol immeoi+te emciency
+nopover. ln tLe present context tLerelore, itvouloLe Letter
to +L+noon tLe +mLiguous voro ` oemocr+cy' +no to pre
sent tLe contr+st in irreconcil+Lle terms-tot+lit+ri+n +no
liLert+ri+n.
TLe Lro+o oistinctionLetveen tLe tot+lit+ri+n +no tLeliLer
t+ri+nst+teistL+tsocietyintLelormeris+pì+nneoorg+niz+tion
to vLicL +ll tLe constitutent inoiviou+ls or units +re lorciLly
1 1 7
1 1 8 T H E F R E E D OM O F TH E A RT I S T
suLoroin+teo,vLilstintLel+tter, societyi s tLeresultoltLelree
cooper+tionolinoiviou+lslortLeircommonLeneft.TLetot+li
t+ri+n st+te L+s tLe +pp+rent +ov+nt+ge ol eßciency, Lut Ly
killinginoiviou+liniti+tiveittenostom+ketLest+te+ninel+stic,
inorg+nic +no +ntivit+l m+cLine. TLe liLert+ri+n st+te is L+p-
L+z+ro, +pp+rently ineßcient, cert+inly ex+sper+ting to men
vitL tioy minos, Lut ve cl+im tL+t, like n+ture itsell, tLougL
v+stelul,itooeslive+noletlive,+notL+t,+Love+ll,it+llovslor
tLeoevelopmentolinoiviou+lsensiLility+nointelligence.
AcceptingtLesel+cts,vL+tvevoulotLena priori expectooes
inl+ctoccur.TLetvomostcompletelytot+lit+ri+nst+tes, CLin+
2
+noRussi+, +repreciselytLe st+tes invLicL tLere+listic style in
+rtnotmerelyprev+ils,Lutis made toprev+il.ltistLeoßci+l+no
oefnitive style, to vLicL +ll +rtists vitLin tLe st+te must con
lorm. All otLer styles +re L+nneo, +no tLe +rtists vLo pr+ctise
tLem +re persecuteo. lt is interesting to note tL+t tLis L+n is
+pplieo, not merely to superre+lism +no expressionism, vLicL
migLtLesupposeotoL+vesome soci+lly oisintegr+ting eEects,
Lut+lsotoconstructivism,tLe+im olvLicLis so positive +no
tectonic. People vLoex+lttLe r+tion+l motive+Love +llotLers
inevit+Lly+noinstinctivelyreject+ny+ctivitytL+tproceeoslrom
+notLerregionoltLemino.
lntLec+seoltLeoemocr+ticst+te,ve+renot+Lletom+ke+ny
sucLne+ta priori ioentifc+tion-+nolor+verygooore+son.TLe
liLert+ri+n +ttituoe is essenti+lly +n experiment+l +ttituoe, +no
tLereloreintLefelool+rtitvelcomes+nylormol+ctivitytL+t
villprovioe +vorking LypotLesis. TLe Americ+n pLilosopLer,
]oLnDevey,L+s ioentifeooemocr+cy+no tLe scientifcmetLoo.
Letmequote+levrelev+ntsentenceslromLisLook,Freedom and
Cu1ture:
3
` Not completely in China; there a good deal of artistic liberty shelters (as I
observed when I visited the country in 1 9 59) under the cover of ' tradition' .
London (Allen &Unwin) , 1 940, p. 1 02.
T H E F R E E D OM OF T H E A RT I ST 1 1 9
' I t i s of the nature of sci ence not so much to tol erate as to
wel come di versity of opi ni on, whi l e i t i nsi sts that i nqui ry bri ngs
the evi dence of observed facts to bear to efect a consensus of
concl usi ons-and even then to hol d the concl usi on subject to
what i s ascertai ned and made publ i c in further new i nqui ri es. I
woul d not cl ai m that any existi ng democracy has ever made
complete or adequate use of sci enti fc method i n deci di ng
upon its pol i ci es. But freedom of i nqui ry, tol erati on of di verse
views, freedom of communicati on, the di stri buti on of what . i s
found out to every i ndi vi dual as the ul ti mate i ntel l ectual con­
sumer, are i nvolved i n the democratic as i n the sci enti fc
method. When democracy openl y recogni zes the exi stence of
prblems and the need for probi ng them as probl ems as i ts
gl ory, it wi l l relegate pol i ti cal groups that pri de themsel ves
upon refusi ng to admi t i ncompati bl e opi ni ons to the obscurity
whi ch al ready is the fate of si mi l ar groups in sci ence' .
:imil+rly, l leel inclineo to s+y tL+t vLen sucL + society,
vLicLmusttLereloreLe+liLert+ri+nsociety,openlyrecognizes
tLe existence oloistinct types olperson+lity, +no tLe necessity
lortLesetypes toexpresstLemselves +rtistic+lly, itvillreleg+te
+rtistic groups tL+t prioe tLemselves upon relusing to +omit
incomp+tiLlestylestotLeoLscurityvLicLis +lre+oy tLel+te ol
simil+r groups in science. Any kino ol exclusiveness or in
toler+nceisjust+sopposeototLeprinciplesolliLerty+ssoci+l
exclusiveness or politic+lintoler+nce.lntLisrespect+rt, +no+ll
cultur+lmooes olexpression, +re olex+ctly tLe s+me st+tus +s
politic+lopinions.
TLe scientifc metLoo implies, nevertLeless, some progress
+no some oefnite conclusions. TLe progress m+y Le slov+no
tLeconclusionsm+yLetent+tive,Lut+tsomest+getLeproLlem
seemstoLesolveo+no+cert+inlineol+ctiontoLeinoic+teo.lt
is only in cLess, in tLe crossvoro puzzle +no sometimes in
m+tLem+tics,tL+ttLeproLlemissetlortLemeres+keol+rriving
I
&
1 20 T H E F R E E D OM O F T H E A RTI S T
at a solution. TLe organization olsociety Las, tLerelore, or
sLoulo Lave, a oelnite aim, ano tLougL tLat aim may Le
oescriLeoin generalterms as tLe acLievement ol tLe gooolile,
tLe greatest Lappiness oltLe greatest numLer, ano so on, lrom
time to time itLas a more specilc aim-rratLer, tLis general
aimis oivioeo intomany oetaileo aims-sLorter stages tovaros
tLefnalacLievement.AttLepresentmomentmostoltLeseaims
are suLoroinateo to tLe one aim oloelenoing our liLerty lrom
tLetLreatoltLetotalitarianpoverolRussia,Lutinmorenormal
times veLave various social ano cultural aims, some olvLicL
impingeveryoirectlyontLeprovinceoltLe artist. ltisprecisely
LecausetLeseaimsareratieastLattLeyvilloemano,notonetype
olartist, Lut all types. LetmetrytoinoicateLrießytLe possiLle
vays invLicL eacL type olartist migLt fno Lis lunction ina
liLertariansocietyoltLeluture.
A oemocracy ooes notoespiseorsuppress tLatlacultyvLicL
tLe totalitarian socialist makes so exclusive-Lis tLinking or
rationallaculty. TLe liLertarian socialist must also plan, Lut Lis
plans, apart lrom Leing tentative ano experimental, vill make
tLe vioest use ol all Luman laculties. TLus, Le vill plan tLe
Luiloingolanevcity,ortLereLuiloing olanoloone.lutinso
ooing Le vill not merely consioer tLe rational lactors, sucL as
tLeoistriLutionoltLeLuiloings,tLeviotLanooirectionoltLe
streets,tLe provision olopen spacesanorecreational amenities,
allolvLicLcanLearriveoatLy tLeprocessoltLougLt,Levill
also consioer tLe relation olmass tomass,olsurlaceto surlace,
ollineanooutline,untilLeLasreacLeo,tLrougLtLelacultyol
intuition,anaturalLarmony.luteventLatisnotsumcient.TLe
liLertarianplanner must also rememLer tLat cities are Luiltlor
citizens,anotLattLeLousesanoLuiloingsvillLeinLaLiteo,not
Ly cipLers, Lut Ly Luman Leings vitL sensations ano leelings,
ano tLattLeseLumanLeingsvillLe unLappy unlesstLeycan
lreely express tLemselves in tLeir environment. ltmay Le tLat
tLese laculties can only Le expresseo inoivioually, or in group
T H E F R E E D OM O F TH E A RT I ST 1 21
activitieslike oramaanosport,Lutat least yourcitymust Le so
planneo tLat it allovs lor tLe possiLility olsucL activities. No
oouLt tLe planner vill rememLer to provioe a tLeatre ano a
sportsgrouno,vLatLe islikely to lorgetis someprovisionlor
tLeretirementanoseclusionoleacLperson. lor it is uponper-
sonalLappinesstLatsocietyultimatelyanocollectivelyoepenos.
lt is, still more certainly, upon personal Lappiness tLat tLe
lutureolartoepenos.lutLy'Lappiness'loonotmeantLatstate
oleupeptic contentmentvLicLisactuallyolall states olmino
tLe one least lavouraLle to tLe proouction ol a vork ol art.
Happiness, in tLe felo ol art, means vork. tLe capacity ano
aLilitytocreatesometLingneartLeLeart` soesire.TLeLappiness
is not in tLe possession oltLe tLing createo, Lut in tLe act ol
creatingit. ltistLetLesissooltenanosorigLtlyoelenoeoLyLric
Cill-tLe tLesis ' tLat Luman culture is tLe natural proouct ol
Lumanliving,anotLatLumanliving is naturally anocLießy a
matterolLumanvorking,tLatleisureisinitsessencerecreative,
tLat tLe oLject olrecreation is to ft us lor living, tLatve may
rejoice asa giantto runtLe course. ' Ve makeataLleano callit
vork, ve make a picture ano call it art ilve mean to sell tLe
picture, recreation ilve make it lor our ovn amusement. lut
tLereis really no oistinction. tLe art is not oetermineoLy tLe
purposeoltLe tLingve make,Lut LyitsinLerentqualities, tLe
qualitiesvitL vLicL tLe artist Las enooveo it, anotLepleasure
olart comes lromtLe act olcreating tLese ano, ina seconoary
anostimulatingvay,lromtLementalactolre-creatingtLemin
contemplation.VLatlvisLtopreventisanynarrovconception
eitLeroltLe artistoroltLevorkolart. LveryLumanLeing is
potentiallyanartist,anotLispotentialityisolconsioeraLlesocial
signilcance.TLeinoivioualanosocietyaretLeoppositepolesol
averycomplexrelationsLip.TLe inoivioualisanti-social attLe
time ol LirtL-oLserve tLe early oays olany LaLy. He only
LecomessocialLyapainlulprocessolaoaptation,ouringvLicL
Le acquires vLat ve call , paraooxically, Lis personality, Lut
Æ
1 22 T H E F R E E D OM O F T H E A RT I ST
+ctu+lly tL+t compromise cL+r+cter vLicL is tLe result olsuL
oroin+ting person+lity to tLe prev+lent conception ol soci+l
norm+lity.TLe psycLologic+lillslromvLicLLum+nLeingssuf·
ler +re + proouct oltLis compromise, or m+l+oj ustment. VL+t
Lecomes more +nomore cert+inis tL+t tLese ills c+n to + l+rge
extentLe+voioeoLytLepr+cticeol+n+rt.TLepeoplevLom+ke
tLings-lL+venoevioenceLeyono my ovnoLserv+tion-seem
to Le less li+Lle to nervous Lre+koovns, +no one oltLe recog·
nizeolormsoltre+tmentlorment+loise+sesisknovn+s ' occu
p+tion+ltLer+py` . NoonevoulosuggesttL+ttLelunctionol+rt
ismerelyto keep people Le+ltLy, LutitL+s its suLjectiveeEect.
TLe+rtistnotonlycre+tes+noLjectextern+ltoLimsell.inooing
so Le +lso vit+lly reorg+nizes tLe L+l+nce olimpulses vitLin
Limsell
Ourgl+nce+ttLesoci+llunctionol+rttLerelorereinlorcestLe
liLert+ri+n conception ol +rt. All types ol +rt +re not merely
permissiLle, Lut oesir+Lle. TLe neeos ol society comprise, not
only tLe outv+ro structure ol+ vorlo to live in, Lut +lso tLe
inv+ro structure ol+ mino c+p+Lle olenjoying lile. Ve must
tLerelore se+rcL lor metLoos ol encour+ging tLe +rtist-tLe
+rtistl+tentine+cLoneolus.
TLere stillrem+ins tLe question olvalue in +rt. Ve m+y +ll
Lecome +rtists,Lutunless our Lum+n n+ture cL+ngesr+oic+lly,
only+levolusc+nLecomegreat +rtists.Hovooveme+suretLis
oiEerence-tLeoiEerenceLetveenmeoiocrity+nogenius?
TLe trutL is, tLere is not one me+sure, Lut sever+l. :ome
people, +no possiLly tLe m+jority olpeople +t some time, use
oneonlyoltLeseme+sures, otLersuse+comLin+tionoltvoor
more me+sures +no t+ke tLeir+ver+ge.Actu+llyl lno tL+ttLese
me+sures+re+g+inlourinnumLer.TLereisl rsttLeoirect+ppli
c+tionolvL+tvec+ll+c+non-tL+tistos+y,+nest+LlisLeol+v.
lt m+y Le + l+v olgeometric+l proportion, olcolour comLin-
+tions,ol+oelnitetypeolLum+nlgure,ol+oelnite 'oroer' or
'mooule'in+rcLitecture.ltis+me+sureve+reconsciousol,+no
TH E F R E E D OM O F T H E A RT I ST 1 23
c+n +pply ex+ctly. TLen-+no tLis is tLe me+sure tL+t L+s Leen
most useo in tLe p+st century-tLere is tLe me+sure olsens
iLility. 1Le Lum+nLeing isreg+roeo+s + sensitive instrument
wLogivesout+noreceivesoelic+teviLr+tionsintLepresenceol
colours,textures+nosp+ti+lrel+tions, +no+vorkol+rtisme+s
ureoLytLenumLer+nointensityoltLeviLr+tionsvLicLem+n-
+te lrom Lim. Ne+rly rel+teo to tLis kino olsensiLility, Lut in
re+lityquiteoistinct, isourintuitive+ppreLensionolsp+ce+no
time, +no our expression oltLeir rel+tions inrLytLm +no L+r
mony.ourintuitionoltLe+Lsolutev+luesollorm. lin+lly,tLere
is our +ppreci+tion oltLe or+m+tic or symLolic signilc+nce ol
tLe pictori+l content ol+ vork ol+rt-tLe leelings vLicL +re
+rouseo in us Ly tLe im+ges tL+t tLe +rtist uses to express
Limsell
VeL+vetLuslourmetLoosolcritic+l+ppro+cLtotLevorkol
+rt,+noe+cLmetLoois v+lio lor itscorresponoing type ol+rt.
letveentLesecritic+lpolestLerevill+g+inLemixeomooesol
+ppreLension+nojuogement,sotL+ttLe s+tisl+ctionveoerive
lromtLeoLserv+nceol+c+oemicc+nonsc+nLemooileoontLe
onesioeLyourintuitionolL+rmonicrel+tions,+noontLeotLer
sioe Ly our sensiLility to colours +no textures. At tLe otLer
extreme tLe psycLologic+l signilc+nce olour or+m+tic im+ges
m+y Le comLineo vitL + sensitive renoering oltLese im+ges,
+no even Ly +n ' +Lstr+ction` olsucL im+ges, in otLer voros,
superre+lismvillmerge,+sveknovitooes, tov+rosconstruct
ivism on tLe one sioe+no tov+ros expressionism on tLe otLer.
lut+g+inltLinkitvillLelounotL+ttLeoppositepoints oltLe
comp+ss teno to conßict-ve c+nnot, tL+tisto s+y, +tone +no
tLe s+metimes+tisly tLeveryr+tion+l+no consciousl+vs ol+n
+c+oemic c+non+noexpresstLe l+nt+siesvLicLve lno re+oy
m+oeintLeunconscious.Noroo l tLinktL+ttLe extremesens-
iLilityvLicLvegetintLeimpressionisticp+intingsolMonetor
lenoir c+n comLine vitL tLe lorm+l intuitions vLicL +re tLe
L+sisoltLe+rtol:eur+torlenNicLolson.luttLeminooltLe
1 24 T H E F R E E D OM O F T H E A RT I ST
spect+torL+smore tL+nonemooe ol+ppreci+tion-more tL+n
one+ppro+cLto+rt-+nollnonotLing repreLensiLle-inoeed
l lnoitLut n+tur+l-tL+t one m+n's t+ste sLouloLe univers+l.
Art,liketLeLum+nminoitsell,emLr+cescontr+oictions,itistLe
L+l+nceoltLesecontr+oictionstL+tprooucestLeLigL oegreeof
tensionnecess+rylortLeproouctionoltLegre+testvorksol+rt.
Actu+llyve e+cLtenotoselecttLecritic+l+ppro+cL+ppropri
+teto tLe psycLologic+l type to vLicLveLelong.VLetLertLe
vLolly L+rmonious mino exists-tLe mino equ+lly L+l+nceo
LetveentLougLt+noleeling,Letveenintuition+nosens+tion-
is perL+ps oouLtlul, Lut surely tL+t is tLe ioe+l tov+ros vLicL
veougLttostrive.OnlysucL+minoc+n+ppreci+tetLelullness
+noricLnessollile. llve cometo tLeconclusiontL+ttLiscom
plete+noL+rmoniousLeingc+nnotexistinourmooernlormol
society, tLenour +im sLouloLe to cL+nge tL+t lorm olsociety
untilsucL+lileLecomespossiLle.lntLisgre+t+im,invLicLtLe
energies olLum+nity vill Le+LsorLeolorcenturies to come,+
rigLtunoerst+noing oltLe n+ture ol+rt +nooltLe lunctionol
tLe +rtistisluno+ment+l.
1 0
TH E NATURE OF
REVOLUTIONARY ART
Like industry, art has never adapted itself to the demands of
theorists; it always upsets their plans of social harmony, and
humanity has found the freedom of art far too satisfactory ever
to think of allowing it to be controlled by the creators of dull
systems of sociology. The Marxists are accustomed to seeing
the ideologists look at things the wrong way round, and so, in
contrast to their enemies, they should look upon art as a
reality which begets ideas and not as an application of ideas.
Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence.
lntLelr+gment+rynotesvLicLconcluoeLislntroouctiontoThe
Critique of Political Economy, M+rx recognizeo ' +nunequ+lrel+tion
sLip Letveen tLe oevelopment ol m+teri+l proouction +no
+rtistic proouction' , Lut oio not oesp+ir olreconciling sucL +
contr+oiction Ly me+ns oltLe oi+lectic+ì metLoo. He Limsell
neverL+o tLe time oropportunity to resolvetLeproLlem, +no
some olLis rem+rks on tLe suL¡ ect +re in tLe n+ture olL+sty
gener+liz+tions vLicL no oouLt Le voulo L+ve correcteo on
1 26 T H E N ATU R E O F R EV OL U T I O N A R Y AR T
lurtLer consioer+tion-+s, lor ex+mple, Lis expl+n+tion oltLe
etern+l +ppe+l olCreek +rt +s oue to tLe etern+l cLilo in us, +n
LypotLesis evioently oeriveo oirectly lrom Vico. M+rx' sLesit+-
tion+no,inoeeo,l+lteringovertLisproLlemsLoulo+tle+stL+ve
oeterreoLislolloverslrom+ superlci+l tre+tmentoloneoltLe
most complex c+tegories olListory tL+t still +v+it oi+lectic+l
+n+lysis.TLisimmense suLjectooesnotconcernusnov, Luton
tLeL+sisol+superlci+l+noessenti+llyunoi+lectic+l+ppro+cLto
tLe vLole proLlem, cert+in +ssumptions L+ve Leen m+oe +s to
tLe n+ture ol + true revolution+ry +rt, or + true prolet+ri+n
+rt, vLicL only Lring rioicule on tLe cultur+l +spects ol tLe
revolution+rymovement.
Revolution+ry +rt sLoulo Le revolution+ry. TL+t surely is +
simple st+tement lrom vLicLve c+n Legin tLe oiscussion. Ve
c+n+tonceoismisstLeleeLleinterpret+tionolsucL+st+tement
+s +n injunction to p+int pictures ol reo ß+gs, L+mmers +no
sickles,l+ctories+nom+cLines, orrevolution+rysuLjectsingen·
er+l. ¸lll t+ke ex+mples lrom tLe pl+stic +rts, l oo so only lor
convenience, +novL+tl s+yvoulo +pplyequ+llyto music' +no
poetry+no+lltLe+rtsve+re concerneovitL.)lutsucL+leeLle
interpret+tion ooes +ctu+lly persist +mong communists, +no is
responsiLlelortLep+rtis+n+oul+tionol+competentLutessen
ti+llysecono-r+te+rtistlikeDiegoRiver+.
Ve c+n Lest +ppro+cL tLe question lrom tLe +ngle ol +n
+Lstr+ct +rtlike +rcLitecture. ¸TL+ttLis p+rticul+r +rtL+sunoer-
gone some queertr+nslorm+tions inRussi+ is Lesioe tLe point,
tLere+reexpl+n+tionsoltLe+nom+ly, LuttLeyL+velittleto oo
A pathetic moral may be drawn from the development of the composer
Shostakovitch. An excellent analysis of the progressive deterioration of this
artist under political pressure was made by Gerald Abraham in Horizon, vol. vi,
no. 33 (September 1 942) . The ' pressure' may not be overtly political: it may be
the politician's interpretation of popular taste, which is rather worse, for then
the politician is presuming to make and enforce an aesthetic judgement. Cf
Emma Lu Davis, quoted on pp. 7 5-6 above.
TH E NATU R E O F R EVOL UT I O NA RY A RT 1 27
witL+estLetics. ) ArcLitectureis + necess+ry +rt, +no itis intim ·
+tely Lounoup vitL tLe soci+l reconstructionvLicL must t+ke
pl+ceunoer+revolution+ryregime.Hovoove,+sLnglisLmen,
conceive + revolution+ry +rcLitecture? As + reversion to Tuoor
rusticity, or Ceorgi+n st+teliness,or tLe Lourgeoispomp oltLe
neocl+ssic+lstyle?·urelynoneoltLesestylesc+nlor+moment
Le consioereoinrel+tion to tLecityoltLeluture. Mustve not
r+tLer conloentlylooklorv+ro to + oevelopmentoltL+t+rcLi
tecture vLicL, in V+lter Cropius' s voros, 'Looies itselllortl,
not in stylistic imit+tion or orn+ment+l lrippery, Lut in tLose
simple+nosL+rplymooelleooesignsinvLicLeveryp+rtmerges
n+tur+llyintotLecompreLensivevolumeoltLevLole' ? Onlyin
tìis m+nner, LylollovingtLep+tLcle+rlyinoic+teoLyCropius
+noLislollovers,c+nve lno '+ concrete expression oltLelile
olourepocL' .
TL+t surely must Le+omitteo. l lve tLen p+ss lrom +rcLi-
tecture+no+skourselvesvL+tistLep+r+lleltotLisnevstylein
tLe +rts olp+inting +no sculpture, c+n ve lor + moment Le
s+tisleovitL+River+or+1s+pline?lstLerenotr+tLer+nessen
ti+lcontr+oictionLetveensucL +necoot+l +no 'liter+ry` +rt +no
.Levit+lity+nointellectu+lstrengtLoltLenev+rcLitecture?
TLe questionc+nnotLe+nsvereovitLout+ sLortoigression
on tLen+tureol+rt.Anyconsioer+Lle vork ol+rtL+s tvo ois
tinctelements. +lorm+lelement+ppe+lingtooursensiLilitylor
re+sons vLicLc+nnot Le st+teovitL+ny cl+rity, Lut vLicL +re
cert+inly psycLologic+l ilnot pLysiologic+l in origin, +no +n
+rLitr+ryorv+ri+Lìeelementolmorecomplex+ppe+lvLicLlike
+suitolclotLing seems tocovertLeseunoerlyinglorms.ltis+t
ìe+st +rgu+Lle tL+t tLe purely lorm+l element in +rt ooes not
cL+nge, tL+t tLe s+me c+nons olL+rmony +no proportion +re
present in primitive +rt, in Creek +rt, in CotLic +rt, inRen+is
s+nce+rt+nointLe+rtoltLepresento+y.·ucLlorms,ve m+y
s+y,+re+rcLetyp+l,ouetotLepLysic+lstructureoltLevorlo+no
tLepsycLologic+lstructureolm+n. Anoitis lortLisre+sontL+t
1 28 T H E N ATU R E OF R EVO L UTI ON A RY AR T
tLe+rtist,vitLsome sLovolre+son, c+n t+ke up+n +ttituoeol
oet+cLment. lt is Lis sense oltLe import+nce oltLe +rcLetyp+l
vLicLm+kesLimrel+tivelyinoiEerentto tLepLenomen+l.
TLe recognition olsucL univers+l lorm+l qu+lities in +rt is
consistentlym+teri+listic.ltnomorecontr+oictstLem+teri+listic
interpret+tionolListorytL+n ooes + recognition oltLerel+tive
perm+nency oltLe Lum+n lorm, or oltLe lorms olcryst+ls in
geology. Cert+in l+ctors in lile +re const+nt, Lut to tL+t extent
tLey +renot p+rt olListory.Historyis concerneovitL tL+t p+rt
ollilevLicLissuLjecttocL+nge,+notLeM+rxi+noi+lecticis+n
interpret+tionolListory,not +tLeoryoltLeLiologic+lstructure
ormorpLologyollile.
lltLe criticollorm+lismvillgr+nttLeexistenceolperm+n
ent+nouncL+nging elementsin+rt,tLenitc+nLe+omitteotL+t
+t v+rious perioos tLere L+s Leen + oiEerentv+lu+tion olsucL
elements. ln l+ct, vL+t is tLe oiEerence Letveen cl+ssic+l +no
rom+ntic epocLs Lut + oiEerence in tLe empL+sis given to tLe
lorm+l L+sis ol vorks ol +rt? Ve c+nnot s+y tL+t + rom+ntic
p+interlikeDel+croixl+ckslorm-ortL+t+cl+ssic+lp+interlike
PoussinL+stoomucLolit. llve couloin+nyv+yme+suretLe
oegreeollormintLesetvo +rtistsve sLouloproL+LlyfnotL+t
itv+sequ+l.
lut in tLe cl+ssic+l +rtist tLe lorm is so import+nt tL+t tLe
suLjectm+tteris+lmostirrelev+nt,vLilstin tLe rom+ntic +rtist
tLesuLject-m+tterissoimport+nttL+titcompletelyovervLelms
tLelorm.ltismerely,vemigLts+y,+oiEerenceol+ccent.lutit
isinpreciselysucL+v+ytL+t+re+son+LleM+rxistvouloexpect
+rt to Le inßecteo. Ve c+n, tLerelore, in +ny Lro+o Listoric+l
gener+liz+tion,oismisstLeunoerìyinglorm+ìstructureol+rt,to
concentr+te on style +no m+nnerism. lor it is in style +no
m+nnerismtL+ttLeprev+ilingioeologyol+periooisexpresseo.
llve+omitsomucL,itlollovstL+titis+mereillusionlortLe
+rtist to im+gine tL+t Le c+n lor ever m+int+in +n +ttituoe ol
oet+cLment.lc+nonlyseeonelogic+lexception-tLe+rtistvLo
T H E N ATU R E OF R E VOL UT I ON A RY A RT 1 29
c+n so oeprive Lis vork oltempor+ry +no +ccioent+l qu+lities
tì+t vL+t Le +cLieves is in efect pure form. Ano, signifc+ntly
enougL, tL+tistLecl+imoloneextremeoltLe +Lstr+ctorcon
structivist movement, +n extreme vLicL incluoes some oltLe
most t+lenteo +rtists nov living. H+ving no symp+tLyvitL+ny
existing ioeology, tLey +ttempt to esc+pe into +vorlovitLout
ioeologies.TLeysLuttLemselvesvitLin tLe lvoryTover, +noit
is just possiLìe tL+t, for the time being ¸tLe very speci+l time in
vLicLvelive) ,tLeirt+cticsm+yLeolsome+ov+nt+getotLeat
oltLeluture.1LeirpositionvillLecomecle+rer+sveproceeo.
Ap+rtlromsucLû oesper+teretre+t,veL+veto+omittL+ttLe
+rtistc+nnotin+nyeEectivev+y+voiotLeeconomicconoitions
olListime,Lec+nnotignoretLem,lortLeyvillnotignoreLim.
le+lity,inone guise or +notLer, lorces tLe+rtist+long+ oeter-
mineo course, +no iltLe +rtist ooes notre+lize tLis, it is only
Lec+use Le is in tLe mioole oltLe stre+m, vLere tLe v+ter is
deep+notLecurrentstrong.
As lL+ves+io elsevLere,´ tLis question oltLerel+tionoltLe
inoiviou+l to tLe collective society olvLicLLe is + memLer is
tLe luno+ment+lissue,in+rt +svell+sinpolitics.ltis tLelun
o+ment+l questionwithin religiontoo,lorvL+tistLelelorm+
tionLuttLe+ßrm+tionoltLe+utocentricvilloltLeinoiviou+l
+g+insttLecollectiveruleoltLeCLurcL?PLilosopLic+llyitistLe
issueLetveen·cLol+sticism +no C+rtesi+nism, Letveenm+teri-
+lism +no ioe+lism. lut tLerel+tionLetveen mino +no re+lity,
Letveen tLe inoiviou+l +no tLe community, is not one ol
preceoence, it is more one ol+ction +nore+ction, + process ol
t+cking +g+inst tLe vino. TLe current olre+lity is strong, +no
trouLles tLe mino, Lut tLe mino emLr+ces tLis contr+ry lorce,
+noislilteoLigLer,+noc+rrieo+v+yl+rtLer,LytLeveryopposi
tion.AnosovitLtLeinoiviou+l+notLecommunity. complete
lreeoom me+ns inevit+Lle oec+oence. TLe mino must leel +n
¯ At ad Society (London: new edn, 1 9 5 6) .
1 30 TH E N ATU R E O F R EVO L UTI ON A RY A RT
opposition-must Le t+mpeo vitLL+rore+lities ilitis to L+ve
+nyLl+stingpover.
TL+tLynome+nsexL+uststLeproLlemoltLerel+tionoltLe
inoiviou+lto society. lt is +proLlemvLicLin its psycLologic+ì
+svell+ssociologic+l+spectslL+veoiscusseomoretLoro�gLly
in +notLer Look,
3
+no +ll l c+n s+y +t present is tL+t l tLink
tLe rel+tive lreeoom ol tLe inoiviou+l-l me+n, ol course, Lis
inteìlectu+l lreeoom-c+n Le j ustifeo vitLin tLe M+rxi+n
ortLoooxy. ·t+lin L+s s+io tL+t ' M+rxism st+rts out vitL tLe
+ssumption tL+t people' s t+stes +no requirements +re not, +no
c+nnotLe,equ+linqu+lityorinqu+ntity,eitLerintLeperioool
·oci+lismor intLeperiooolCommunism' . T+stes +norequire
ments oo not Lecome oiEerenti+teo in qu+lity vitLout
inoepenoenceoltLougLt+nocriticism,+nosucLinoepenoence
is essenti+l lor +ny oi+lectic+l oevelopment in culture. TLe
U. ·. ·. R. L+slounoitnecess+ry, purelylorpr+gm+ticre+sons,to
+omit + cert+in oegree ol vL+t is c+lleo ' sellcriticism' , tLus
recognizing+soci+lr+tLertL+n+politic+ljustifc+tionlorintel
lectu+l lreeoom. TLe psycLology ol tLe inoiviou+l c+nnot Le
sep+r+teolromtLepsycLologyoltLegroup,+nolortL+tre+son
+lonetLeolo conception olinoiviou+lityvill not serve lor tLe
nevoroerolsociety.
Let us return to tLe +ctu+lities olmooern+rt. Lxcluoing tLe
gre+t m+ss ol +c+oemic Lourgeois +rt, +no vitLin tLe gener+l
c+tegoryolrevolution+ry +rt, ve L+ve tvo oistinct movements,
LotLprolessingtoLemooern,LotLint.ntienalljrevolution+ry.
TLe frst oltLese L+s no very oescriptive l+Lel, Lut is essen
ti+llylorm+list, intLe sense+lre+oymentioneo. ltissometimes
c+lleo+Lstr+ct, sometimesnonfgur+tive,sometimesconstruct
ivist, sometimes geometric. lt is most typic+lly representeo Ly
p+inters like l+noinsky, Monori+n +no len NicLolson, +no Ly
sculptorslikePevsner,C+Lo+nol+rL+r+HepvortL.
Education Through Art (London and New York: new edn, 1 958) .
T H E NATU R E OF R E VO L U T I O N A RY A RT 1 3 1
TLe secono movement L+s + oistinctive n+me-Sar:alism. or
·uperre+lism-+no is representeo Ly p+inters like M+x Lrnst,
·+lv+oorD+li,Miro,T+nguy,+noLy+sculptorlikeArp.
1Le frst movement is pl+stic, oLj ective +no ostensiLly
nonpolitic+l.
TLeseconogroupisliter+ry ¸eveninp+int) ,suLjective,+nois
+ctivelycommunist,tLougLgener+ìly+nti·t+linist.
TLoseoistinctions+reoLvious, on tLe surl+ce. lut l v+nt to
suggesttL+tve c+nnotLes+tisfeovitLsucL superfci+l oistinc
tions.Ve c+nnot+ccepttLesuperre+lists+ttLeirovnv+lu+tion,
+novelcometLem+stLeonlytruerevolution+ry+rtists.Never
tLeless, tLey +re perlorming + very import+nt revolution+ry
lunction,+noitmustLes+ioontLeirLeL+lltL+ttLeyre+lizetLe
import+nce ol tLeir lunction vitL l+r more cl+rity tL+n tLe
oßci+l M+rxi+ns, vLo L+ve sLovn tLem no l+vour. lor oßci+l
M+rxi+ns,concentr+tingontLeireconomicproLlems,oonotsee
tLerelev+nceoltLecultur+lproLlem,morep+rticul+rlytLe+rt
is¡icproLlem.TLeminooltLe+rtist, tLeycompl+cently+ssume,
tL+t too vill, in Trotsky' s pLr+se, limp +lter tLe re+lity tLe
poìitici+ns+recre+ting.
lut everyvLere tLe gre+test oLst+cle to tLe cre+tion oltLis
nevsoci+lre+lityistLe existenceoltLecultur+lLerit+geoltLe
p+st-tLe religion, tLe pLilosopLy, tLe liter+ture +no tLe +rt
vLicLm+kesup tLevLole complex ioeology oltLe Lourgeois
mino. TLe logic oltLe l+cts-tLe economic l+cts.v+r,poverty
+miostplenty, soci+linjustice-tL+tlogicc+nnotLe oenieo. lut
solong+stLeLourgeoisminoL+sitsLourgeoisioeologyitvill
oeny tLe l+cts, it vill construct +n el+Lor+te r+tion+liz+tion
vLicLeEectivelyignores tLem.
TLesuperre+lists,vLopossessverylorcelulexpositorsoltLeir
point olviev, re+lize tLis very cle+rly, +no tLe oLject oltLeir
movementistLereloretooiscreoittLeLourgeoisioeologyin+rt,
tooestroytLe+c+oemicconceptionol+rt.TLeirvLoletenoency
isneg+tive+nooestructive.TLep+rticul+rmetLootLey+oopt,in
1 32 TH E N ATU R E OF R E VO L UTI ON A R Y AR T
s olaras tLeyLaveacommonmetLoo,consistsinLreakingoovn
tLe Larriers Letveen tLe conscious reality ol lile ano tLe
unconsciousrealityoltLe oreamvorlo-to so minglelactano
lancytLattLenormalconcept olrealityno longerLasexistence.
lt is a similar tenoency vLicL Carl Linstein louno in tLe �ater
vorkollraque,anotosomeextentlraquemayLeconsioereoas
a superrealist-Picasso too. ·uperrealists like Lrnst ano Dali
complete tLe oisintegration oltLe acaoemic concept olreality
LegunLyPicassoanolraque.
Ve can see, tLerelore, tLe place ol superrealism in tLe
revolutionary movement. VLat oltLis otLer kino olmooern
art-tLeartolpurelormimmureoinitslvoryTover?
TLatart,too,lvisLtoconteno,Lasitsrevolutionarylunction,
ano in tLe eno itis tLe most important lunction olall. ·uper
realismisanegativeart,aslLavesaio,aoestructiveart,itlollovs
tLat it Las only a temporary rôle, it is tLe art ola transitional
perioo.ltmayleaotoanevromanticism,especiallyinliterature,
LuttLatliesLeyonoitsimmeoiatelunction.
lutaLstractartLasapositivelunction.ltkeepsinviolate,until
sucL time as society vill once more Le reaoy to make use ol
tLem, tLeuniversalqualitiesolart-tLoseelementsvLicLsur
viveall cLange anorevolutions. ltmay LesaiotLatas sucL itis
merely art in pickle-an activity oivorceo lrom reality, olno
immeoiateinterestto tLerevolutionary.luttLat,lmaintain,isa
verysLortvievoltLesituation.·ucLartisnotsomucLinpickle
asmigLtLesupposeo.lorinonespLere,inarcLitectureanoto
some extentininoustrial art, itisalreaoyin social action. TLere
ve fno tLe essential link Letveen tLe aLstract movement in
mooernpainting anotLe mostaovanceomovementinmooern
arcLitecture-tLe arcLitecture olCropius, Mies van oer RoLe,
lrankLloyo VrigLt, Aalto, Le CorLusier . . . . lt is not merely a
similarity ol lorm ano intention, Lut an actual ano intimate
associationolpersonalities.
TLissinglelinkpointstLevaytotLeartoltLeluture-tLeart
T H E N ATU R E OF R E VOL UT I ON A RY A RT 1 33
ola classless society.ltisimpossiLle to preoictall tLelorms ol
tLis art, anoitvillLemanyyearsLeloreitreacLes itsmaturity.
lut ve cannotLuiloa nev society-ano ve mustliterally build
sucLasociety,vitLLricksanomortar, steelanoglass-vecan
not Luilo sucL a society vitLout artists. TLe artists are tLere,
waiting lor tLeir opportunity. aLstract artists vLo are, in tLis
timeoltransition,perlectingtLeirlormalsensiLility, ¯anovLo
villLereaoy,vLentLetimecomes,toapplytLeirtalentstotLe
great vork olreconstruction. Reconstruction is not vork lcr
romantictraoitionalistsanoliterarysentimentalists.Constructive
socialism is realistic, scientifc, essentially classical. lut let us
realize tLat ve Lave lalse romanticists in our miost-tenoer
minoeoioealists vLovoulolike toLlurtLe precise outlines ol
our vision vitL sentimental ioeals ol naturalism, Lomespun
simplicity ano social naivety, communitysinging ano vLat is
novcalleo 'pop' art.·ucLpeopleimaginetLatrevolutionaryart
is akinuollolkart, peasant pottery, maorigals ano Lallaos. tLe
Russians encouragetLeoeLaseolacqueranopapierm1cLecralts
olPalekL ano Mstera, ano tLeir socalleo ' socialist realism' is
merely Lourgeois pictorialism. Ve vant a conception ol art
vLicLisatoncemoreimaginativeanomoreprecise,evenintel
lectualano `oimcult' , sometLing vLicLve canvitLout lalsity
ano selloeception put Lesioe tLe great creative epocLs oltLe
past.
`! have dealt with the social function of the abstract artist in At and Industry
(London and New York, 1 9 5 6) .
1 1
TH E PSYCHOLOGY
OF REACTION
Re+ction, +no tLe ioeology ol re+ction vLicL ve m+y c+ll
re+ction+ryism, is not confneo to tLe +rts. lt is perL+ps +Love
+ll+politic+lpLenomenon, +no+s+ m+tter oll+cttLere+ction
+ry +rtist is olten louno +ssoci+ting LimsellvitL + re+ction+ry
politic+lp+rty. NevertLeless,l propose tole+vere+ction+rypoli
tics out ol tLe present oiscussion, except in so l+r +s +n
occ+sion+l relerence m+y illumin+te tLe s+me pLenomenon in
tLe+rts.
Asinpolitics, sointLe+rts,vemustLeginvitL+oistinction,
not +lv+ys m+int+ineo, Letveenre+ction+ryism +no conserv+
tism. Conserv+tismis + positive ooctrine. it +sserts tL+t cert+in
politic+l institutions-tLe mon+rcLy, lor ex+mple-ilnot oiv
inely oro+ineo, +re +t le+st ol+Lsolutev+lioity, +no tL+t +ll our
eEorts sLoulo Le oirecteo to m+int+ining sucL institutions
tLrougLouttLe v+ri+tions olour economiclortunes, vLicL+re
reg+roeo +ssuperfci+lpLenomen+.TLeprincipìes olconserv+
tism +re tr+oition+l-tLe L+noing oovn lrom gener+tion to
T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R EACT I O N 1 35
gener+tion ol + cultur+l p+ttern, expresseo in + lorm tL+t is
Lier+ticor+ristocr+tic.
Re+ction+ryism is + neg+tive ooctrine. lt vigorously oe
nounces +n existing situ+tion-tLe situ+tion +s sucL-+no
seeks to est+LlisL + contr+rysitu+tion.ltisrevolutioninreverse.
1Le contr+ry situ+tion is not necess+rily conserv+tive or
tr+oition+l-+re+ctingcommunistm+yseektoest+LlisL+tot+li-
t+ri+n oemocr+cy completely +t v+ri+nce vitL tLe +ristocr+tic
principles ol conserv+tism, +no tLere is + vioe cLoiceol
niLilistic +ttituoes, some olvLicL ve sL+ll oe+l vitL. NotL-
ing coulo Le lurtLer lrom conserv+tism ol tLe type given
pLilosopLic+ì st+tus Ly lolingLroke +no lurke tL+n tLe l+scist
ooctrines olMussolini, Hitler +no lr+nco, politici+ns vLo +re
to Le reg+roeo +s re+ction+ries in our sense ol tLe voro, +s
counter-revolution+ries.
TLere is + lurtLerprelimin+ryoistinction to Le m+oe. Con
scious ol tLeir regressive oirection, re+ction+ries +re +lv+ys
+nxious tooenytLeexistenceolprogress. TLisis+nemotivevoro
+nomust LeL+noleovitL c+re.Tooenyprogressol+nykinois
merelytoLeimpervioustocert+inl+cts.TLegener+lst+no+rool
living, lor ex+mple, is nov LigLer in lrit+in +no tLe Uniteo
·t+testL+n+t+nyotLerperiooinListory.TLisisproveoLysucL
st+tistics +s tLe gener+l expect+ncy ollile, tLe inl+nt mort+lity
r+te, tLe incioence ol epioemic oise+ses +no so on. TL+t tLis
m+teri+l progress L+s Leen +ccomp+nieo Ly minor set-L+cks
mustLe+omitteo, +notLereL+sLeennomor+l+ov+nce+t+llto
corresponovitLtLisriseintLe st+no+roolliving.Veenjoyour
mooerncomlortsvitLune+syconsciences.
lut ve +re not +t present concerneo vitL tLe st+no+ro ol
living, or +ny otLer lorm olm+teri+l progress, Lut vitL tLe
cultur+l pLenomenon c+lleo +rt. ln tLis spLere no responsiLle
Listori+norpLilosopLervouloventuretocl+im+nytLingintLe
n+ture olevolution+ry progress. Nev m+teri+ls +no tools L+ve
lrom time to time Leen oiscovereo +no introouceo, +no tLese
1 36 TH E PSYC H O LOGY O F R EACT I ON
L+ve leo to + vioer +pplic+tion oltLe +estLetic sensiLility. lut
sensiLilityitsell, LotLinitsexecutive +no+ppreci+tive +spects,is
¡ust+s const+nt +s +ny otLer Lum+n l+culty, +no cert+inly ooes
notseemtoL+vem+oe+ny 'progress` or+nyregress intLep+st
+00 centuries.
lltLere L+s Leenno progress or regress tLereL+s Leencon
st+nt change. TLe ·tone Age, tLe lron Age, tLe lronze Age, tLe
Cl+ssic+lAge,tLeMeoiev+lAge,tLeMooernAge-tLese+rev+st
cyclic+lcL+ngesinciviliz+tion+noin+lltL+tiscL+r+cteristicol+
civiliz+tion-its +rt, religion+nopLilosopLy.VitLin tLese cyc
lic+lepocLs+re+ltern+tingpL+sestL+texLiLitevenmoreor+stic
contr+sts-lor ex+mple, vitLintLe ·toneAge ve p+ss lromtLe
n+tur+listic +rt oltLep+laolitLicperiooto tLe +Lstr+ct or geo
metric+l+rtoltLeneolitLicperioo.·imil+r+ltern+tionsoccurin
+lltLeAges,+noinourovn+ge,veseemtoLeintLeprocessol
repe+tingtLecL+ngelrom+n+tur+listicto+geometric+ltypeol
+rt.·ucLcyclic+lcL+nges+re +lv+ysLrokenupintogr+ou+lLut
oelnite st+ges-tLe st+ges ve recognize Listoric+lly Ly l+Lels
sucL+sM+nnerist,l+roque,Rococo,Rom+ntic,Cl+ssic,Re+lism,
lmpressionism, Postlmpressionism, CuLism, ·uperre+lism+no
Constructivism.
Aomitteoly, tLe more minute ve Lecome in our Listoric+l
+n+lysis,tLelessunivers+l+reourc+tegories.Rom+ntic+noCl+s
sic +re styles tL+t c+n Le recognizeo tLrougLout Listory-+no
tLeyL+veoelnitecorresponoencesin soci+l structures+nopsy
cLologic+l types.lycontr+st+movementlikelmpressionismis
to Le expl+ineo Ly loc+l +no incioent+l l+ctors tL+t oo not
necess+rilyrecur.
CL+nge, Lovever, is persistent enougL, +no it is oißcult to
see Lov it coulo Le +rresteo, sLort oltLe oe+tL olm+nkino.
Lxistenceitsellis+cL+ngelulprocess-+processolconception,
gest+tion, LirtL, grovtL +no oec+y. ll ve vere oe+ling vitL
+nim+l lile, ve coulo contempl+te +n enoless repetition ol
tLis cyclic process, until tLe species exL+usteo itsell or v+s
TH E PSYC H O LOGY O F R EACT I ON 1 3 7
superseoeoLy +notLer species.lutm+nis sellconscious+noit
isLispeculi+ritytL+tLeL+sgr+ou+lly extenoeo tLe r+nge olLis
consciousness. TLisL+s Leen +veryslovprocess, +no +g+inve
mustLesit+te to use tLe voro `progress' . lut tLe consciousness
ol, s+y, tLe C+venoisL prolessor olpLysics, or tLe Astronomer
Roy+l, or + mystic like ·imone Veil, is inlnitely more com
preLensivetL+ntLe consciousness ol+nAustr+li+nLusLm+n. lt
is possiLle, olcourse, tL+ttLeAustr+li+n LusLm+n is conscious
oloneortvo tLingstL+tesc+petLeAstronomerRoy+l,+noJl is
oouLtlul iltLe consciousness ol+nim+l vit+lity possesseo +no
expresseo Ly tLe p+laolitLic +rtist L+s ever Leen suLsequently
exceeoeo. ltvoulo seem tL+t onekinoolconsciousness super
seoes otLer kinos. tLere is + cert+in L+l+nce olintensities-tLe
sense olm+gic, tLe sense olmystery, tLe sense olglory. lrom
time to time +ll tLese pL+ses olconsciousness L+ve in some
oegree Leen s+crilceo to +llov + r+tion+l consciousness to
oevelop. lut it voulo Le r+tLer perverse to m+int+in tL+t tLe
consciousness ol+nLinsteinrepresenteonoqu+lit+tive +ov+nce
ontLeconsciousnessol+triL+lvitcLooctor.
l Lelieve tL+t +estLetic consciousness-tLe consciousness ol
lorm+lLe+uty+noorg+nicvit+lity-is+L+sicconsciousness, +no
tL+t tLe vitcLooctor +no Linstein +re equ+lly oepenoent onit.
lrogressinLum+nconsciousness oepenosontLis+estLeticl+c
ulty, LuttLel+cultyitsell, +slL+ve+lre+oy suggesteo,sLovsno
progress.ltistLelorm+tiveprincipleinLum+nevolution,+noit
isvL+tislormeotL+tinoic+tesprogress,not+ny cL+ngeintLe
instrumentollorm+tion.TLism+yseem+fneoistinction,Lutit
isessenti+lto+nunoerst+noingoltLeListoryol+rt.lten+Llesus
tounoerst+no+no+ppreci+tevL+tisL+sicinsucLoiverselorms
ol +rt +s Creek cl+ssicism, meoiev+l suLlimity, Ren+iss+nce
Lum+nism, nineteentLcentury re+lism, +no contempor+ry
+Lstr+ct+rt. TLereis+lorm+tive principle tL+tisconst+ntin+ll
tLisoiversity.LuttLere+re+lsosuccessivecL+ngesol+ppe+r+nce
tomeettLespiritole+cL+ge.
1 38 T H E PSYC H O L OGY O F R E ACTI ON
TLe :pirit ol tLe Age, tLe Cerm+n Zeitgeist, is + o+ngerous
pLenomenontoßirtvitL,LutitisoouLtlulilvec+nesc+pe its
viles.TLereis+lv+ys+conßictLetveentLelorm+tiveprincipìe
+no tLeZeitgeist: Letveen tLe vill to + lormtL+tis+Lsolute +no
univers+l, +no tLevillto +mooeolexpressiontL+tisimmeoi
+telyeEectiveor+ccept+Lle.ltisLeyonoourpoverto+voiotLis
conßict,lortLesimplere+sontL+tve+remostlrmlyintLegrip
oltLe Zeitgeist vLen ve +re le+st +v+re olits presence in our
consciousness. Cert+inly ve oo not esc+pe it Ly oeliLer+tely
oßering vL+t ve, in our ne+rsigLteoness, oesign+te +s zeit­
geistlich: tL+tismerely+notLer+ttempttoliltourselvesupLyour
ovn Lootstr+ps. Lven tLe sell-+ssureo oLj ectivityoltLe scLol+r
m+y Le tLe Zeitgeist in oisguise. one tLinks ol +ll tLe oe+o
le+rning emLooieo in seventeentLcentury tLeology, or in
nineteentL-centuryListory'
l oo notvisL to ioentily tLecL+ngelulprocessexLiLiteoLy
ListoryvitLtLespiritole+cLsuccessive+ge.:omecL+nges+re
prolouno, otLers+resuperlci+l.TLeRom+nticMovement in+rt
+noliter+turev+s+prolounocL+nge,+noL+snotyetexL+usteo
itsell. tLe CotLic Reviv+lv+s + superlci+l cL+nge, tLe spirit ol
tLe +ge in l+ncy costume. TLe s+me oistinction must Le m+oe
Letveen tLe cL+nges ve L+ve vitnesseo in tLe tventietL cen
tury. TLe nev conception oltLe pLysic+l structure oltLe uni
verseisproL+Lly+cL+ngeprolounoinitsell,+novitLprolouno
pLilosopLic+l consequences. TLe question ve L+ve to +sk our
selves, vitL tLe knovleoge tL+t ve c+nnot +nsver it vitL +ny
cert+inty, is vLetLer tLe cL+nges in +rt, vLicL +re just +s
+stonisLing, +reequ+llyprolouno.
TLetvocL+nges-in science +noin+rt-L+ve Leenconcur
rent,+nolortLisre+son+loneitisl+irto+ssumetL+ttLey+rein
some m+nner interrel+teo. TLe religious cL+nge knovn +s tLe
Relorm+tion c+n Le +scriLeo to m+ny c+uses, sucL +s tLe cor
ruption oltLe clergy +no tLe overveening economicpover ol
tLe mon+steries, Lut + nev religious +ttituoe (+s opposeo to +
T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R E ACTI ON 1 39
re+ction+ry religious +ttituoe) v+s m+oe possiLle Ly + nev
tL
eoryoltLe universe, putlorv+ro Ly C+lileo +no Copernicus.
1LeRelorm+tioncouloL+ve Leen+ re+ction (to + moreprimi
tive +no 'purer' conception ol CLristi+nity) , inste+o it v+s +
cL+nge in religious sensiLility corresponoing to + cL+nge in
scientilcknovleoge.
lLelievetL+tmooern+rtL+stLes+meconsequenti+lcL+r+cter.
itis+ cL+nge inmooes olperception+noim+gin+tiontL+tcor
responosto+nevspiritu+lorintellectu+l+ttituoevioelysL+reo
Ly mooern m+n. TLis is not+ lorm+lorconscious+ttituoe. tLe
+rtistisnot ' expressing` , +sves+y, +scientilcor+pLilosopLic+l
viev ol tLe vorlo in conlormity vitL tLe l+test vievs oltLe
pLysicists or tLe met+pLysici+ns, or ol tLe politici+ns +no
economists. On sucL m+tters Le m+y sincerely proless + pro
louno ignor+nce. NevertLeless, tLere exists + vioely oiEuseo
sentiment, + sense ol Leviloerment, ol +nxiety, to vLicL +ll
tLese speci+lists L+ve contriLuteo tLeir sL+re, +no tLis +tmos
pLeretLe+rtist,sinceLeisLyoelnition+Leing+cutelysensitive
to sucLcollectiveintim+tions, c+nnot esc+pe. Helnos symLols
to representtLeseprev+lentst+tesolLum+nconsciousness . tL+t
isLisprim+rylunctioninsociety.
Ve c+nnot tell vLetLer Le lnos tLe rigLt symLols, Lut tLe
successoltLecontempor+ry+rtistisoueto+gener+lrecognition
tL+tLeL+slounosucLsymLols,+noL+sgiventLemconvincing
lorm.TLe+rtistsolourperiootLusm+oe' gre+t'Lyourrecogni
tion ol tLeir symLolic potency-+rtists like Pic+sso, llee,
l+noinsky, Leger-+re +ll +rtists vLo L+ve proliler+teo nev
symLoliclorms-lorms tL+tcorresponoin some intim+tev+y
totLeZeitgeist.
:omucLlortLeprocessolcL+nge.Ve seetL+titisinevit+Lle,
tL+ttLereisnotLing inLerently goooinit, tL+t itrepresentsno
kino ol progress, mor+l or +estLetic. lut tLis process is not
mecL+nic+l .itinvolvesLum+nLeings,+nomostol+llitinvolves
tLe +rtist. l oo not s+y tL+t tLe +rtist is tLe +gent olcL+nge,
1 40 TH E PSYC H O L OGY O F R E ACT I ON
inoeeotLeperlectvorkol+rtliltsusoutoltLeßuxolexistence,
involves tLe oLserver in + st+te oltimeless contempl+tion. lut
e+cLmomentolvisionis+momentol+rrest-itisnotre+cLeo
vitLoutmovement.
TLe +rtistin sucL + situ+tion 'lives on Lis nerves' . He is lor
ever +n+lysing +n unknovn suLst+nce, +ttempting to resolve +
mystery, to give lorm to v+gue intuitions. lt is little vonoer,
tLerelore,tL+tsome+rtistsLre+koovnunoertLestr+in.Someol
tLose vLo c+nnot st+no tLe p+ce simply l+llL+ck, +L+noontLe
enort, Lut tLere +re otLers, +no it is tLis p+rticul+r type tL+t l
visL to isol+te +no ex+mine, vLo st+y to mock, to recrimin+te,
to+Luse, to Letr+y.lltLe str+inLecomesunLe+r+Lleto +vLole
gener+tion,tLenve m+ygettL+tListoric+lpLenomenonvLicL
CilLert Murr+y, in+ l+mous lecture onsucL + perioo in Creek
Listory, c+lleo + ' l+ilure ol nerve' . He useo tLis pLr+se to
oescriLe tLe in+Lility ol tLe +ncient vorlo to m+int+in tLe
r+tion+l ioe+lism ol tLe gre+t scLools ol tLe lourtL century
n. c.-tLerel+pseinto superstition,mysticism,gnosticism,reve-
l+tion,outolvLicL +nevpositivel+itL, primitive CLristi+nity,
eventu+lly emergeo. TLe present l+ilure olnerve is not so pre
oomin+ntly superstitious, tLougL ve must rememLer tL+t tLe
N+zisL+otLeirRosenLerg, +nonotLing c+n Leso ioeologic+lly
irr+tion+l +s tLe cults ol r+ce +no pover tL+t cL+r+cterize
re+ction+ry politics. Since ve +re oe+ling vitL +rt, vLicL is +
symLolic+ctivity,vec+nnotproperly spe+kol+l+iluretom+in
t+in+pLilosopLyolr+tion+lioe+lism.lutnevertLeless,re+sonis
involveointLepresentsitu+tion,+noitisnotlounoontLesioe
olre+ction.
Herelmuststress+oistinctiontL+tlL+veLeenm+king+llmy
lile Letveen re+son +no scientilc metLoo. lut let me on tLis
occ+sionrelyonCilLertMurr+y,vLosen+melL+vejustevokeo.
AttLe eno oltLe ess+y inquestion Le L+s +n eloquentp+ss+ge
vLicLlvouloliketoquote.
TH E PSYC H O LOGY O F R E ACT I ON 1 41
'The Uncharted surrounds us on every si de and we must needs
have some rel ati on towards it, a rel ati on whi ch wi l l depend on
the general di sci pl i ne of a man' s mi nd and the bi as of hi s
whol e character. As far as knowl edge and consci ous reason wi l l
go, we shoul d fol l ow resol utel y thei r austere gui dance. When
they cease, as cease they must, we must use as best we can
those fai nter powers of apprehensi on and surmi se and sensi ­
ti veness by whi ch, afer al l , most hi gh truth has been reached
as wel l as most hi gh art and poetry; careful al ways real l y to
seek for truth and not for our own emoti onal sati sfacti on, care­
ful not to negl ect the real needs of men and women through
basi ng our l i fe on dreams; and rememberi ng above al l to wal k
gentl y i n a worl d where the l i ghts are di m and the very stars
wander."
Hereis+n+omission,Ly+n+postleolre+son,tL+tknovleoge
+noconscious re+sonvillonlyc+rryussol+rin+nunoerst+noing
olre+lity, +notL+tvLenvere+cLtLelimitoltLeirpovers,'ve
must use +s Lest ve c+n tLose l+inter povers ol+ppreLension
+no surmise +no sensitiveness Ly vLicL, +lter +ll, most LigL
trutL L+s Leen re+cLeo +s vell +s most LigL +rt +no poetry' . l
LelievetL+tProlessorMurr+yputstLeseprocessesintLeirvrong
oroer-tL+t it is only vLenve L+ve lrst useo tLese povers ol
+ppreLension+nosurmise+nosensitivenesstL+titLecomespos
siLleto use tLepovers olconscious re+son, lorre+sonisnot +
vLollyconceptu+l +ctivity,+spinningol+Lstr+ctionlrommen
t+l v+cuity. it is, in so l+r +s it rem+ins vit+l, + met+pLoric+l
+ctivity, given energy +no scope Ly tLe im+gin+tion. ln otLer
voros,re+sonisleo, +s lrom +nunoergrounosource, Lymet+
pLors+nosymLolsgr+speointLeirsensuous+ctu+lityLy+sensi
tiveorg+nism.ltisLetter,tLerelore,toreg+rore+son+sinclusive
olsymLolic oiscourse, Lut +t tLe s+me time to oistinguisL it
Five Stages of Greek Religion. LOndOp (Watts) , 1 9 5 3 , p. 1 7 1 .
1 42 T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R E ACT I ON
sL+rply lrom revel+tion +no otLer supern+tur+l mooes of
knovleoge.
TL+t contempor+ry +rt L+s itsLermeticscLools is not to Le
oenieo. some oltLe more pretentious +oepts olsuperre+lism
vere +s irr+tion+l +s tLe Cnostics or MitLr+svorsLippers
oescriLeo Ly Prolessor Murr+y. lut in gener+l , mooern +rt, in
spite olits str+ngeness +no oLscurity, L+s Leen inspireo Ly +
r+tion+loesiretocL+rttLeUncL+rteo.llinsucL+n+ttemptitL+s
proouceo symLols tL+t +re unl+mili+r, tL+t v+s only to Le
expecteo, lor tLe oeptLs it L+s Leen exploring +re mysterious
oeptLs, lull olstr+nge fsL. :ome oltLese migLt perL+ps L+ve
Leenlelt+ttLeLottomoltLese+-tLey+remonsterstL+tevolu
tionL+soisc+roeo.lutilvepersistinourrestlessoesiretoknov
everytLing +Lout tLe universe +no ourselves, tLen ve must not
Le +lr+io ol vL+t tLe +rtist Lrings L+ck lrom Lis voy+ge ol
oiscovery.
l +mnottLinking only oltLe soc+lleoore+m-im+ges, oltLe
symLols oltLe unconscious, ol+ll tLe missL+pen progeny ol
lrustr+tion +no inLiLition. TLe +rtists` im+ges +re +Love +ll
lorm+tive-tL+t is to s+y, tLey give oefneo sL+pe to vL+t v+s
+morpLous, tLey +re cryst+lliz+tions olßuio ment+l intuitions,
tLey m+teri+lize tLe imm+teri+l, tLe imm+ture, tLe merely
senseo +no loc+teooirections olsignifc+nt experience.VL+t is
Lestinsoc+lleo+Lstr+ct +rt-vLicLisnot ' +Lstr+ct` , Lut+ctu
+lly+concretionolvL+tv+ssuspenoeoin+Lstr+ction-Lelongs
to tLis kino olim+gin+tive +ctivity. lt is lrontier vork in tLe
processolre+soning. tLeinventionoltLenecess+rysy;Lolslor
+n+ov+nceolconsciousness.
ltis tLiskinoolvorktL+tL+sLeenLr+noeo+s ' extremism' .
TLel+Leli s not+ oisLonour+Lle one,lor +llpioneersinLum+n
enoe+vourL+veLeenextremists, explorersvorking +t tLe lron
tiers olexperience¬iltLey +re +rtists,vorking +t tLe lrontiers
olperceptu+l experience. To reluse tovorkinsucL+n+rouous
clim+teisunoerst+no+Lle. in+nyc+seitis+ t+sklortLe cLosen
T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R E ACTI ON 1 43
lev only,lortLoseenooveoLyn+turevitLtLenecess+rysensi-
tiveness+nocour+ge.lutvL+tlvisLtooiscussnovistLec+se
ol tLe pioneer vLo oeserts tLis lront, vLo retires to + s+le
oist+ncelromvLicLLec+nrevileLislormercoll+Lor+tors.
Olcourse,sucL+n+rtistneverv+s+vLole-Le+rteocoll+Lor
+tor. TLe reneg+oe type is + Lorn scLizoio, suspicious olLis
lellovs lrom tLe moment Le recognizes tL+t Le L+s lellovs-
tL+t is to s+y, siLling riv+ls to + motLer' s +Eection. VLen ve
come+crosstLeenvious+noresentlul+rtist,itis +lv+yslegitim
+teto suspect+nirregul+ror oisorg+nizeocLiloLooo-+l+ckol
motLer-love in e+rly inl+ncy, oivorceo or sep+r+teo p+rents, +
soci+l environment olinsecurity +no +nxiety. lt is oißcult +no
perL+ps o+ngerous to proLe into tLe c+seListories olour con-
tempor+ryreneg+oes . LutnotLingtL+tveknov+LouttLee+rly
Listory ol typic+l specimens voulo seem to contr+oict tLis
LypotLesis.lortun+telyvec+nEnoourevioenceintLep+st.
VorosvortL is + typic+l c+se ol tLe p+tLologic+l reneg+oe.
TL+tLev+s 'neurotic' isnot+nevoi+gnosis-M+ttLevArnolo
+no]. l. :tepLen +lre+oy recognizeo tLis l+ct, tLougL tLey oio
notL+veourmooernclinic+lpLr+seology.ltL+sLeenlelttoMr.
! N l+teson to oescriLe tLe p+ttern oltLis psycLosis, +no to
tr+ce its origins L+ck to +nunL+ppy cLiloLooo, vLere +ll con
ßictsoltListypeorigin+te. ´TLegre+tpoetryolVorosvortLv+s
tLe proouctol+ single oec+oe, +no +ccoroing to Mr.l+teson-
+no m+y l s+y l entirely +gree vitL Lim on tLis signifc+nt
point¬v+s gener+teo Ly + struggle lor norm+lity +no ment+l
Le+ltL. ':ol+rlromsurrenoeringtotLeneuroticelementsinLis
person+lity, ' vrites Mr. l+teson, ' +s so m+ny Rom+ntic poets
L+ve oone, VorosvortL' s e+rly lile v+s one long oesper+te
struggle +g+inst tLem. Ano vL+tever one` s reserv+tions +Lout
tLisortL+tpoemtLegener+loirectionoltLepoetryisunoouLt-
eolytov+ros s+nity, sincerity, symp+tLy,g+iety-in+voro,tLe
¯
Wordsorth: a Re-interpretation. London (Long mans) . 1 9 5 1 .
1 44 T H E PSYC H OLOGY OF R EACT I ON
Lum+ne virtues. VL+t m+kes tLeir successlul re+liz+tion in
VorosvortL' sLest poemsso exLil+r+ting to tLe mooernre+oer
isLiscontinuousconsciousnessolLovL+rolytLesuccessesL+ve
Leen von, Lov prec+rious tLe +cLievement is. TLere vere no
e+syvictorieslor Lim eitLer+s+m+nor+poet. '
TLevoroscLizoiome+ns ' oivioeo-+ oivioeoperson+lityis
tLe l+ym+n' s term lor tLis psycLologic+l conoition. ln ). l.
·tepLen' scruel verses` tLetvop+rts olVorosvortL' s oivioeo
person+lity+rec+lleo `TLeTvo Voices' .
There are two Voices: one i s of the deep;
I t l earns the storm-cl oud' s thundrous mel ody,
Now roars, now murmurs wi th the changi ng sea,
Now bi rd- l i ke pi pes, now cl oses sof i n sl eep.
And one i s of an ol d hal f-witted sheep
Whi ch bl eats arti cul ate monotony,
And i ndicates that two and one are three,
The grass is green, l akes damp, and mountai ns steep
And, Wordsworth, both are thi ne . . .
TLisis+n+cute+n+lysisinsol+r+sitrecognizestL+tonevoice
isoltLeoeep-tL+tisto s+y, comeslromtLeunconscious,+no
tLe otLer is oLj ective, oirecteo to tLe outer vorlo. TLenorm+l
personstillstLevoiceoltLeoeep,orient+tesLimselltotLeouter
vorlo, Lecomes + gooomixer, + conserv+tive in politics +no +
re+ction+ry in +rt. TLe psycLoticperson surrenoers to Lis suL
j ective sell, sLunssociety,issuspiciousolLislellovvorkers, is
sexu+llymorLio+nopLilosopLic+llypessimisticorniLilistic.lut
+ lev r+re people +re conscious olLotL tenoencies vitLin tLe
sell,+noc+nLolotLemin+prec+riousL+l+nce.ltis+vievlL+ve
long Lelo tL+t most gre+t +rt +no liter+ture proceeos lrom tLis
Originally, Mr. Bateson tells us, contributed to the University magazine Granta
in June, 1 89 1 .
T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R EACT I ON 1 45
conoition olprec+rious ment+l equiliLrium-tLe gre+t +rtist is
' +tigLt-ropev+lker' . ¯
Mr. l+teson seems t o +omit tLis l+ct i ntLe c+se olVoros
vortL,LutLe+lso+greestL+ttLe+cLievementolnorm+lity, tLe
triumpL olTLe ·econo Voice, me+nt +n eno to tLe vtiting ol
+nyvit+lpoetry.lutLemigLtL+veextenoeoLis+n+lysistosLov
tL+ttLes+me triumpLoltLe ·econo Voiceme+nt+n enotoLis
lrienosLip vitL Colerioge, + gruoging envy olriv+l poets like
lyron+no·Lelley,+vicious+norutLlessre+ction+ryisminpoli
tics, +no + L+roening oltLe Le+rt vLicL m+oe olLim +n olo
m+n unloveo Ly Lis neigLLours +no little respecteo Ly Lis
youngercontempor+ries.
ln Lis e+rlym+nLoooVorosvortL L+o Leen + revolution+ry
inpolitics +no +n experiment+listinpoetics.He+no Colerioge
togetLer cre+teo + nev type olpoetry, tLe poetry olsincerity,
vL+t le+ts c+lleo ' tLe true voice olleeling' . VorosvortL oio
not velcome tLis qu+lity in tLe younger gener+tion. le+ts Le
tLougLt' overluscious' , tLe' Ooeon+Creci+nUrn'onlyserveo
to remino Lim ol one ol Lis ovn inlerior sonnets, +no tLe
' Hymnto P+n' Le cL+r+cterizeo+s '+ pretty piece olp+g+nism' .
luti t i s Lis+ttituoe tov+ros CoetLetL+ti s mostsignifc+nt, lor
CoetLe is tLe typic+l poet ol equiliLrium, + vriter vLo c+n
L+l+nce Lis senses +g+inst Lis intellect, +no lrom tLeir tension
project throughout his life tLe LigLest poetry. lutlor VorosvortL
tLere v+s in +ll tLis ' +proßig+cy, +n inLum+n sensu+lity . . .
vLicLisutterlyrevolting' . ` lorVorosvortLCoetLeis+ 'poet-
ic+lsensu+list'-'HeL+onotsumcientlycle+rmor+lperceptions
tom+keLim+nytLingLut+n+rtifci+lvriter.' °
G. Melchiori has given us a brilliant survey of modern poetry from this point
of view. Cf. T he Tightrope Walkers, London (Routledge &Kegan Paul ), 1 9 56.
Bishop Christopher Wordsworth' s reminiscences of 1 827, Memoirs, ii, 478.
Lady Richardson, August 26, 1 841 ; Grosart III, 435-6. Wordsworth' s reaction
to 'sensualism' is another matter, which I have dealt with in my book on
Wordsworth and which Mr. Bateson also analyses.
1 46 TH E PSYC H O LOGY O F R EACT I ON
' OlCoetLeVorosvortLspokevitLLisusualLitterness' , says
CraLL RoLinson in one oltLe entries in Lis Diary ( 1 ]anuary,
1 843) , anotLis 'usualLitterness' vasreserveoloracontempor-
ary poet oluniversal lame vLo Lao oareo to Le personal-to
make Lis emotions ano experiences tLe oeliLerate Lasis ol Lis
vork.VorosvortLLaooareoootLatloraoecaoeonly,Letveen
tLeyears 1 797 ano1 808. TLenLeclampeooovnLissenses , sLut
out Lis emotions ano Lecame vLat Le accuses CoetLe ol
Leing-'a very artiEcial vriter' . lut artiEciality Las a special
meaning lor VorosvortL. Le oeE nes it as 'aiming to Le uni
versal, anoyet constantly exposing Lis inoiviouality, vLicL Lis
cLaractervasnotolakinoto oignily' . ´
Here ve Lave a oistinction Letveen inoiviouality ano cLar-
acter vLicL l Lave also oiscusseo elsevLere, maintaining pre
cisely tLe opposite olVorosvortL` sopinion-namely, tLat all
true poetry proceeos lrom tLe personality or inoiviouality ol
man, ano tLat cLaracter is tLe social trap in vLicL tLe poet is
caugLt ano extinguisLeo. Hovever, tLat oistinction is not in
questionnov,exceptinsolarastLereactionaryinourovntime
aoopts amoral tone, conoemning extremitiesinartasa oanger
to tLe :tate, or as tLe corruption olsociety, etc. ltis not olten
tLat sucL critics Lave a moral LaLit to matcL tLeir moral senti
ments, morality is merely one more stick in tLeir armoury ol
resentment.
lvantnov to turn lromtLereal case olVorosvortL to tLe
imaginarycaseolamooernpaintervLo LastLisscLizoiotem
perament,vLoinearlyinlancyLasacquireo,tLrougLneglector
lackolmaternalsympatLy,intenseleelingsolunlulElleooesire.
As tLe cLilo grovs up ano aoapts Limsellto tLe outer vorlo,
tLese leelings are suppresseo ano Ly a process nov clearly
unoerstooo LypsycLology,tLey Lecome oeatLvisLes oirecteo
againstotLer people, instincts olLatreoano aggression. All tLat
Ibid.
T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R EACT I ON 1 47
inlantileoistress is nov Llameo onsomeone else, itmay Le on
tLe ruling classes, or tLe]evs, or some loreign nation. lutve
are consioering tLe imaginary case ol a painter vLo is tLus
aßicteo-a painter, moreover, vLo early exLiLits signs ol
genius. ltisimpossiLle to nurse intLat same Lreastinstincts ol
ìatreoanoaggressiontLataredestructive anoinstinctsollove ano
sympatLytLatarecreative. TLeoestructiveinstinctsvillgraoually
overcometLecreativeinstincts,tLepointolequiliLriumvillLe
passeo,anotLepainter' s talentvill as a consequence graou+lly
oecline.
As soon as Le Lecomes avare oltLis process-sees Lis ovn
creativepoversoecliningattLesame timeastLepoversolotLer
contemporaryartistsincrease instrengtL ano LeautyLevillLe
consumed ¸as ve rigLtly say) vitL envy. He vill project tLe
oestructivelorcesraginginLisovn psycLe on to tLesesuccess-
lul contemporaries,anotLeyanotLeirlrienosvillLecomever-
itaLledemons, lorcesvorkinglortLeoestructionolartitsell:ucL
anartistmaygosolarastooisovnart.Levillceasetopractise
paintinganoremainaremoteanooisoainlul spectator. :omeol
tLe Daoaists vere oltLis type. lut more olten sucL an artist
Lecomes a renegaoe, a reactionary, ano turns to attack tLose
vLose aspirations Le once sLareo. lt oio not neeo mooern
psycLologyto oetect tLislormolreaction-Aesop oescriLeoit
intLelaLleoltLeloxanotLegrapes.
AttLispointlvouloliketo quote apassagelrom]oanRivi-
ere'sessayon'Hate,CreeoanoAggression' °-aLeautilullyclear
summaryoltLisaspectolemotionallile.
Turni ng away i n contempt or rejection from a desi red obj ect
can be a dangerous psychol ogi cal reacti on, if it is not used
merel y as a restrai nt on greed, and especi al ly i f revenge and
Love, Hate and Reparation. Two lectures by Melanie Klein and Joan Rviere. Hogarth
Press and The Inst. of Psychoanalysis, London, 1 9 3 7 .
Æ
1 48 T H E PSYC H O LOGY O F R E ACT I ON
retal i ati on i nspi re it a s wel l . The most i mpressive evi dence of
thi s may be seen when such a reacti on l eads to sui ci de-when
di sappoi ntment and the fury of revenge engender such hatred
and contempt of l i fe and al l it ofers that l i fe i tsel f is fnal l y
rejected and destroyed.
The revengeful wi sh to di sappoi nt, l eadi ng on to the reaction
of contempt, is one mai n source of al l the countl ess vari eti es of
fai thl essness, betrayal , deserti on, i nfdel ity and treachery so
constantl y mani fested in l i fe, parti cul arl y by speci al types of
peopl e in whom thi s mechani sm is strongl y pronounced­
from the Don J uans or the prostitutes ( i n sexual matters) to the
rol l i ng stones who never keep to one j ob or one l i ne of work ( i n
sel f- preservative matters) . Such peopl e spend thei r l i ves seek­
ing, then fndi ng, then bei ng di sappoi nted because thei r
desi res are i nordi nate and unreal i zabl e ei ther i n qual i ty or
degree; ul ti mately they turn away, spurn and reject-onl y to
start the search i nstantl y al l over agai n.
Ve c+n e+sily tLink ol+ type olcontempor+ry +rtist vLo
perlectly illustr+tes tLis psycLologic+l ' re+ction ol contempt' ,
vLoLetr+ystLeprinciplesLeonceserveo,+noturnsinrevenge
lul spite on +rtists vitL vLom Le once sL+reo + o+ngerous
enterprise. lut oo not let us return contempt lor contempt, or
revengelorrevenge.Ve oonotenvysucLpeople,sovLysLoulo
veoomoretL+ntrytounoerst+notLem+noilpossiLlelorgive
tLem.1Leyvoulovelcomeret+li+tion,olcourse,lortL+tvoulo
s+tisly tLeir instinct lor sell-oestruction, ' inoirect enjoyment
tLeygetinleelingoepriveo+noinjureoLy otLer�. ltLinktL+t
tLeonlyrigLt+ttituoe ¸+p+rtlrom+clinic+lone,��icLvemust
le+vetotLepsycLi+trist)istotre+tsucLpeoplevitLunoerst+no-
ing,vLicLimpliestoler+nce+noevensymp+tLy.Anyoirectre+
soningvitL+nunL+l+nceominooltLiskinoisquiteuseless. it
Joa Riviere, p. 30.
T H E PSYC H O LOGY OF R EACT I ON 1 49
voulo only inspire lurtLer +Luse, lurtLer s+oistic l+nt+sie
¸
.
Moreover, +returntore+soninsucL c+ses isnotto Leexpecteo,
sopersistentistLeorivetosell-oestruction.
1o +oopt+n+ttituoeoltoler+nceinsucL+situ+tionm+yseem
to Le sellrigLteous, Lut l L+ve no visL to cì+im inl+lliLility,
eitLerlortLis +n+lysis olre+ction+ryismintLe+rts,orlor toler
+nceitsell,vLicLissometimes+coverlorl+ckoljuogement.' 1o
LeguioeoLyone' s+versions, ' vrites CilLertMurr+yintLeess+y
lromvLicLlL+ve+lre+oyquoteo, ' is+lv+ys+ sign olve+kness
oroele+t. ' ltLinktL+tex+ctlyoescriLestLeve+knessoroele+tol
tLe type olois+ppointeo +rtist ve L+ve Leen consioering. lut
ProlessorMurr+ycontinues-'itis+smucL+l+ilureolnerveto
rejectLlinolylorle+rolLeing+lool,+stoLelieveLlinolylorle+r
olmissing some emotion+l stimulus' . PerL+ps some olusL+ve
LeenguiltyolLelieving Llinolyincert+inpL+sesolmooern+rt,
+no ve m+y L+ve Leen emotion+lly oeceiveo. lut 'to reject
Llinoly lor le+r olLeing +lool' , orinoroerto+ssu+getLeleel-
ingsolL+treo+nooestructivenessvitLinonesell-tL+tseemsto
metoLetLegre+terve+kness,tLemoreovervLelmingoele+t.A
l+ilure olnerveis+ Letr+y+l olLum+nenoe+v
¸
ur inits oeepest
commitment-in tLe se+rcL lor re+lity, lor tLe ' most LigL
trutL' . Mooern+rtL+sconoucteosucL+ se+rcL,+notLeLestol
mooern+rtists, +mongvLoml L+ve noLesit+tioninincluoing
cert+in+Lstr+ctp+inters +no sculptors, +svell+scorresponoing
poets,musici+ns +no+rcLitects, L+ve Leen+no still +re eng+geo
in + spiritu+l enterprise vLicL m+y one o+y Le reckoneo +s +
oecisivepL+seintLeListory olLum+nculture.
Ve +re +ll too oeeply involveo in tLis enterprise, eitLer +s
pioneers +nop+rtis+ns, or +s reneg+oes +no +post+tes, to +Eect,
vitL+ny +Lsolute rigLt, j uoici+l oet+cLment.VLois notvitL
tLe Listoric+l present is +g+inst it. ve c+n +n+lyse scientilc+lly
only tLe oe+o Looy oltLe p+st. lt m+y Le +rgueo tL+t tLevise
m+nvill+voio+nyposition olextremism, Lutvisoom intL+t
c+se is merely +notLer n+me lor c+ution. VL+t L+s Leen vortL
1 50 TH E P S YC H O LOGY OF R EACT I ON
vLileinLumanListory-tLegreatacLievementsolpLysicsano
astronomy, olgeograpLicaloiscoveryanoolLumanLealing, ol
pLilosopLy ano olart-Las Leen tLe vork ol extremists-ol
tLosevLoLaveLelieveointLeaLsuro,oareotLeimpossiLle,ano
intLelaceolall reactionanooenial,LavecrieoEppur si muove!

1 2
TH E PROB L E M OF
PORNOGRAPHY
l propose to limit my consioerations oltLis oimcult suLj ect to
tLeoiscussionoltLelollovinglourpropositions.
¸ l ) PornograpLy is a social proLlem. it is a commooity
LrougLtintoexistenceLy certaincLaracteristicsolaLigLly
oevelopeocivilization.
¸!) TLeproLlemcannot LesolveoLyanylormolproLiLition
orcensorsLip.TLeselorciLlemetLoosmerelyaggravatetLe
oisease, anotLereareotLeroeploraLleconsequences.
(3) Prevention is Letter tLan cure. ly oiagnosing tLe psycLo
logical motives ol tLose vLo proouce ano tLose vLo
consume pornograpLy, ve may Le aLle to suLlimate tLe
instincts involveo.
¸4) Any lorm ol censorsLip, political or moral, inLiLits tLe
oevelopmentolspiritualvalues. MoralityitsellisstrengtL
eneoLyliLerty.
1 52 T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG RA P H Y
ln recent puLlic oiscussions oltLe suLject, olvLicL tLe leg+l
proceeoings+g+instLady Chatterley's Lover +re typic+l,pornogr+pLy
L+s Leen consioereo +lmost exclusively +s + lorm olliter+tuie,
+notLeetymologyoltLevoro cert+inlyjustifessucL+limit+-
tion olits me+ning. ltisperL+ps vortL empL+sizing, Lovever,
tL+t gr+pLy is +n +mLiguous sumx, +no in sucL voros +s
litLogr+pLy +nopLotogr+pLy suggests + picture r+tLer tL+n tLe
vritten voro. ln j ourn+lism + gr+pLic oescription is one tL+t
conveysinlorm+tioncLießyLytLeuseolim+ges+nomet+pLors.
Ano so inpornogr+pLy tLere is + ' fltLy picture` , eitLer oir
ectlypresenteo,orevokeoLyvoros.Anenormous+mountol+rt
+noliter+tureiseroticintLesensetL+titstimul+tesv+guesexu+l
emotions,LutitL+snopornogr+pLicintentionoreEectLec+use
' itle+veseverytLing to tLe im+gin+tion' . TLe consumer L+s to
inventLisovn im+ges, +no itislelt, Ì oo notknovvitLvL+t
justifc+tion,tL+ttLereisnoL+rmintLis.ln+nyc+se,tLeliLerty
oltLe priv+te im+gin+tion c+nnot Le restricteo Ly +ny puLlic
me+ns, tLougL perL+ps Pl+to +no P+vlov ¸+no Ceorge Orvell
s+tiric+lly) pl+yeovitLtLepossiLility.
ln pornogr+pLy + visu+l or verL+l im+ge +cts +s + oirect
stimulusto tLeeroticorivesorimpulsesvLicL+re+lv+ysl+tent
+nore+oy to Le stimul+teoinnorm+lpeople.TLere +re porno
gr+pLic im+ges tL+t +re too cruoe or too oLscure to L+ve tLe
requireo eEect. tLey +re j ust L+o oltLeir kino. ' Cooo' porno
gr+pLy implies +oequ+te +rtistic skill, +n� tLis skill m+y Le so
gre+ttL+titprovokestLevellknovn+rgumentol+rtisticj ustif-
c+tion.lmysellL+veuseotLis+rgumentintLep+st,Lutloonot
nov tLink tL+t itis + very logic+l one. lnoeeo, tLere is cogent
re+son lor tLe viev tL+t tLe more +rtistic tLe im+ges +re
m+oe, tLe more eEective tLey vill Le, +no tLerelore tLe more
repreLensiLlelromtLeetLic+l+noleg+lpointolviev.As+m+t-
ter oll+ct, very lev gre+t +rtists L+ve c+rrieo on+nyoeliLer+te
T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N O G RA P H Y 1 53
pornogr+pLic+ctivity.TLepornogr+pLicincioentsvLicLc+nLe
culleo lrom CL+ucer or ·L+kespe+re +re p+rt ol tLe re+listic
integrityoltLesevriters.lut're+listicintegrity` is+c+ntpLr+se
tL+tmigLtLeuseotoexcuseR+Lel+isorC+s+nov+,+sitL+sLeen
useotoexcuseD.H.L+vrence.ltisLetter,tLerelore, togetoovn
to tLe psycLologic+l roots ol tLe proLlem Lelore +ttempting
sucL+rLitr+ryoistinctions.
TLe inl+nt, +ccoroing to lreuo, is + r+ging lustlul sexu+l
m+ni+c+lmostlromtLemomentolLirtL,+notLel+rge+mount
olcLilo+n+lysistL+tL+sLeenoone sincelreuo' stimeL+slully
confrmeo tLis oi+gnosis. lut tLe cLilo` s+ggressive sexu+lity is
suppresseointLefrstlourye+rsolitsve+ning+nosoci+l+o+p
t+tion, +no ittLen enters into + ' l+tencyperioo' ¸rougLly lrom
six or seven to lourteen ye+rs) ouringvLicL it presents to tLe
vorlo tL+t convention+l symLol ol innocency vLicL is tLe
opposite ol pornogr+pLy. TLen, lrom +Lout lourteen ye+rs
onv+ros, conscious sexu+loesires +rere+nim+teo+no+ censor
sLip, LitLerto unconscious, Lecomes +ctive +no is +ssoci+teo
vitLv+rious extern+l +utLorities, p+rent+l or soci+l. TLe sexu+l
im+gestL+tL+orioteolreelyininl+ncy+rereviveoin+n+tmos
pLere olmor+l restr+int. leelings ol guilt supervene +no lree
inoulgencenot only in sexu+l+cts Lutevenin sexu+l l+nt+sies
Lecome+sinoreven+crime.
A cert+in me+sure ol mor+l restr+int is +ccepteo Ly most
people +s tLe price tL+t must Le p+io lor civiliz+tion. mutu+l
unoerst+noing, mutu+l +io, +ltruism in gener+l Lecomes tLe
rule, +no +s sucL represents tLe triumpL oltLe ego-ioe+l over
our selfsL instincts. lut tLis ioe+l is + prec+rious +cLievement,
+no inm+ny c+ses, +no lor m+ny oiEerent re+sons, m+y Lre+k
oovn. VL+t usu+lly L+ppens tLen is tL+t conßicts vLicL L+ve
Leen experienceo in inl+ncy +no +lterv+ros lorgotten +re
reviveo intLe unconscious +noprovioetLe stimulus or oriving
lorcelorsexu+ll+nt+sies.
Memory, +s tLe Creeks +lre+oy recognizeo, istLemotLerol
1 54 TH E P R OB L E M OF PO R N OG RA P H Y
+rt+nopoetry,+nolrnest·cL+cLtel ,in+l+mous+nol+scin+ting
p+per,'L+ssLovnLovvorksol+rtm+yLeinterpreteo+seEorts
to penetr+te tLe screen ol verL+l clicLes vLicL + civiliz+tion
el+Lor+testokeepinl+ntileexperiencesLiooen.Asocietyc+nnot
+llovtLerecovery oltLeseexperiencesLec+usetLeverymem·
oryoltLemvoulosL+ttertLeconventionsuponvLicLciviliz+·
tion oepenos to its continu+nce. At tLis point l voulo like to
quote+keyp+ss+gelrom·cL+cLtel' s ess+y.
' No doubt the hosti l ity of Western ci vi l izati on to pl easure,
and to sexual pl easure as the strongest of al l , i s a most i mport­
ant factor operative in the transformati on and educati on of the
chi l d i nto an adul t who wi l l be abl e to ful fl the rol e and the
functi ons he has to take over i n soci ety and wi l l be sati sfed by
them. Freud has not onl y cal l ed attenti on to the phenomenon
of chi l dhood amnesi a but has al so si ngl ed out a deci si ve factor
in its genesi s. I bel i eve, however, that two poi nts are i mportant
for a more adequate understandi ng of the phenomenon. Fi rst,
it is not suffci entl y cl ear why a repressi on of sexual experi ence
shoul d l ead to a repressi on of al l experi ence in early chi l dhood.
For thi s reason the assumpti on seems more l i kel y that there
must be somethi ng in the general qual i ty of chi l dhood experi ­
ence whi ch l eads to the forgetti ng of that experi ence. Second,
the phenomenon of chi l dhood amnesi a l eads to a probl em
regardi ng the nature of repressi on, especi al l y repressi on of
chi l dhood materi al . The term and concept of repressi on sug­
gest that materi al whi ch per se coul d be recal l ed is excl uded
from recal l because of its traumati c nature. If the traumati c
factor .,can be cl arifed and di ssol ved, the materi al i s agai n
accessi bl e to recal l . But even the most profound and prol onged
psychoanal ysi s does not lead to a recovery of chi l dhood
Originally published in Psychiatry, 1 947 (Vol. 1 0, pp. 1-2 6) . More accessible
in ¹ Outline of Psychoanalysis, ed. Clara Thompson and others. The Modern
Library (New York) , 1 95 5 , pp. 203-26.
T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG RA P H Y 1 55
memory; at best it unearths some i nci dents and feel i ngs that
had been forgotten. Chi l dhood amnesi a, then, may be due to a
formati on of the memory functi ons whi ch makes them unsui t­
abl e to accommodate chi l dhood experi ence, rather than
excl usi vel y to a censor repressi ng objecti onabl e materi al whi ch,
wi thout such repressi on, coul d and woul d be remembered . The
adul t i s usual l y not capabl e of experi enci ng what the chi l d
experi ences; more ofen than not he i s not even capabl e of
i magi ni ng what the chi l d experi ences. It woul d not be surpri.s­
i ng, then, that he shoul d be i ncapabl e of recal l i ng hi s own
chi l dhood experi ences si nce hi s whol e mode of experi enci ng
has changed. The person who remembers i s the present per­
son, a person who has changed consi derably, whose i nterests,
needs, fears, capacity for experi ence and emoti on have
changed. The two mechani sms of forgetti ng suggested here
shade gradual l y and i mpercepti bl y i nto one another. They are
neither alternati ves nor opposites, but rather the two ends of a
conti nuous scal e. ' 2
lltotLis oescription olcLiloLooo +mnesi+ve+oo tLeLor
rilyingoescriptionsolinl+ntilesexu+l+ggressivenessreve+leoin
tLe+n+lysis olcLiloren LyMel+niellein,Ann+lreuo, TLerese
leneoek+nootLers,vec+ngetsomeconceptionoltLeo+ngers
tL+t+ccomp+ny+ny+ttempttot+ptLeseLurieomemories.lltLe
controls+re+oequ+tetLesuppresseoim+gesc+nLerele+seovitL
just sumcient lorce to give +n impetus to our l+nt+sies +no
vit+lity to tLe voros +no im+ges in vLicL im+gin+tion lnos
expression. ltis +s iloullness or stupel+ctionvere tLe gener+l
conoitionol+minotL+tc+nlromtimetotimeLeLrougLttolile
Ly +vLiElrom + cylinoer olcompresseooxygen.More tL+n+
vLiEistoomucLol+ gooo tLing +no proouces somelorm ol
p+r+noi+-tL+t is to s+y, + ßov ol im+gery tL+t c+nnot Le
Ibi d. , pp. 208-9.

1 56 T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG RA P H Y
+ccommoo+teotonorm+l¸civilizeo) experience.Pornogr+pLy
is
+nexcessoltLiskino.
ll, +slLelieve,:cL+cLtel`stLeoryissouno+noculturestLere
lore 'v+ryintLeoegreetovLicLtLeyimposeclicLesonexperi
ence +no memory` , tLen ' tLe more + society oevelops in tLe
oirection olm+ss conlormism, vLetLer sucL oevelopment Le
+cLieveoLy+tot+lit+ri+np+tternorvitLin+oemocr+ticlr+me
vork Ly me+ns ol tLe employment m+rket, eouc+tion, tLe
p+tterns ol soci+l lile, +overtising, Press, r+oio, movies, Lest
sellers, +no so on, tLe more stringent Lecomes tLe rule oltLe
convention+lexperience+nomemoryschemata intLe lives oltLe
memLersoltL+tsociety' . OlsucL memoryschemata, tLemytLol
L+ppy+noinnocent cLiloLoooistLemostprev+lent+nopover
lulLec+use, +s :cL+cLtel points out, ` itLolsters p+rent+l+utLor·
ity +no m+int+ins + convention+l prop ol tLe +utLority oltLe
l+milyLy+ssertingtL+tone` sp+rentsveregooo+noLenevolent
peoplevLo oioeverytLinglortLe gooooltLeir cLiloren, Lov
ever mucL tLey m+y L+ve oone +g+inst it' . lut tLe purpose ol
tLe mytL is to oisguise tLe l+cttL+t e+rly cLiloLooov+s not +
perioo ol L+ppiness, Lut one in vLicL tLe cLilo +L+nooneo
Limsell completely to ple+sure +no s+tisl+ction, +no tLus c+me
into conßict vitL p+rent+l +utLority +no soci+l conventions. ln
l+ter lile tLe memory ol tLis conßict is not +ltogetLer
suppresseo-itisscreeneo.lnoeeo, +s:cL+cLtelpoints out, one
c+n oistinguisL tvo processes vLicL overl+p +no sL+oe into
e+cL otLer. 'One process le+ves tLe cultur+lly un+ccept+Lle or
unus+Lle experiences +no tLe memory tLereol to st+rv+tion
Ly tLe expeoient ol provioing no linguistic, conceptu+l +no
memory schemata lor tLem +no Ly cL+nnelling l+ter experience
into tLe experience schemata oltLe culture. . . . Comp+reo vitL
tLis process, tLe oyn+mism ol tLe t+Loo +no olrepression ol
inoiviou+lly or cultur+lly t+Looeo experience +no strivings is
liketLenigLtstickoltLepolicem+ncomp+reovitLtLegr+ou+ì,
slov,insinu+tingprocessoleouc+tioninvLicLsometLings+re
TH E P R OB L E M O F POR N OG R A P H Y 1 5 7
just not mentioneo +no otLers s+io to Le lor tLe Lest ol tLe
;Lilo. `
TLe suLtlety ol tLe process ollorgetting, vLicL :cL+cLtel
+n+lyses so c+relully, ooes notre+lly concernus nov. VLetLer
Lluogeoneo into insensiLility Ly t+Loos +nol+vs, or insensiLly
eouc+teo into Llisslul lorgetlulness, tLe eEect is tLe s+me. :ex
Lecomes + oirty voro +no +ll puLlic+tion +no celeLr+tion ol
sexu+l insuLoroin+tionLecomestL+toisreput+LlepLenomenon
ve+reoiscussing-pornogr+pLy.
To unoerst+noistolorgive,evenintLisspLere.luttLeproL
lemexists+nomostpeoplevoulo+omittL+titisLetterlor+llol
ustoLelieveintLemytLol+L+ppycLiloLoootL+ntorevivetLe
re+lityoltLe sexu+l conßicts olcLiloLooo. lutl tLink some ol
usvoulom+int+intL+ttLeprocessol+ojustmentcouloLem+oe
vitLmoreunoerst+noing+novitLlessviolencetomemory+no
im+gin+tion. Repression is one process, Lut suLlim+tion is
+notLer. ' Pseuooexperienceintermsolconvention+l clicLes' is
onev+yol+o+pt+tionto society, tLe tr+nslorm+tionolreviveo
memoryintomytL+no+estLeticre+lityis+notLerv+yol+o+pt+
tion, Lut not one vLicL is deliberately +oopteo Ly +ny civilizeo
societyintLemooernvorlo.
lL+vesuggesteotL+tpornogr+pLyis+cL+r+cteristicolLigLly
oevelopeociviliz+tions-itmigLtL+veLeenmorecorrecttos+y
oloec+oent civiliz+tions. lut ve +llL+ve our oiEerent concep-
tionsolm+turity+nooec+oence, +nomineooesnotnecess+rily
implytLeLigLintellectu+l+tt+inments ol+periooliketLeíltL
century in AtLens or tLe seventeentL century in Lurope. TLere
+re m+ny so-c+lleo primitive societies ¸tLe l+linese Lelore tLe
Lurope+ns+rriveo) vLeresexu+lexperienceistr+nslormeointo
or+m+ or o+nce +no vLere pornogr+pLy is unknovn. Porn
ogr+pLy, tLougL it existeo, v+s not + proLlem in AtLens-
or+m+v+stLetr+nslormingschema lortLeinl+ntileconßicts ¸lor
vLicL gooore+sonve nov spe+koltLe Oeoipuscomplex) .ln
gener+l, Lovever, ve must not look lor ioe+l solutions in tLe
1 58 T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG RA P H Y
p+st. TLougL tLe gre+t poets L+ve instinctively unoerstooo tLe
proLlem+nosolveoitintLeirmytLologies,itisonlynov,vLen
ve Legin to unoerst+no tLeprocesses olmemory +no +mnesi+
scientifcally, tL+t+ soci+l solution oltLeproLlemisconceiv+Lle.

l +m not going to Le so pretentious +s to inoic+te tLe pro
gr+mmelorsucL+solution.ltinvolves+ completereorient+tion
olour eouc+tion+l metLoos +no ioe+ls ¸lL+ve given + gener+l
sketcL ol sucL metLoos in Education Through Art) . lut, Lrießy,
pornogr+pLyvouloLecome otiose iltLe situ+tion tL+t cre+tes
tLeneeoloritoionot exist-il, tL+tis to s+y, tLe Oeoip+l situ-
+tion coulo Le tr+nslormeo, Lut re+listic+lly tr+nslormeo. TLe
onlykinooltr+nslorm+tiontL+tisre+listicistLetr+nslorm+tion
+ccomplisLeo Ly tLe +estLetic experience. TLe oistinction
Letveen +rt +no illusion is + oistinctionLetveen+ lostexperi-
ence tL+t L+s Leen recovereo +no m+oe + p+rt oltLe present
re+lity,+no+lostexperiencetL+trem+insunconsciousLec+useit
isscreeneoin clicLes +nore+oym+oe conventions olmor+lity.
:omeone L+s s+io tL+t +rt is tLe invention ol nev clicLes. lt
voulo Le more to tLe point to oelne true eouc+tion +s tLe
preventionolclicLelorm+tion-vLicLisvL+tlme+nLyeouc+
tiontLrougL +rt.Toquote :cL+cLtel lor tLe l+st time ¸itis tLe
conclusion ol Lis ess+y) . 'Memory c+nnot Le entirely extin
guisLeo in m+n, Lis c+p+city lor experience c+nnot Le entirely
suppresseo Ly scLem+tiz+tion. lt is in tLose experiences vLicL
tr+nscenotLe cultur+lschemata, intLosememoriesolexperience
vLicL tr+nsceno tLe convention+l memory schemata, tL+t every
nevinsigLt+noeverytruevorkol+rtL+vetLeirorigin,+notL+t
tLe Lope olprogress, ol + vioening ol tLe scope ol Lum+n
enoe+vour+noLum+nlile, islounoeo. '
I I
T+Loo is + comp+r+tively gentle metLoo ol +ttempting to
control tLe vicious sexu+l l+nt+sies ol + civilizeo society,
TH E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG R A P H Y
proLiLition +no censorsLip +re Lrut+l metLoos vLicL succeeo
only in +ggr+v+ting tLe oise+se. AltLougL everyone is tireo ol
Lady Chatterley's Lover, l sL+ll try to prove tLis point Ly + close
look +t D. H. L+vrence, +no l sL+ll Legin vitL + person+l
reminiscence.
lntLe+utumnol1 9 1 5 lv+s+youngsuL+lternin+c+mpon
C+nnockCL+sev+iting toLeor+lteoto tLelront.lL+o+lre+oy
Lecome +cqu+inteo vitL L+vrence` s vork tLrougL tLe sLort
stories tL+t L+o +ppe+reo intLeEnglish Review +no l L+ore+o T/le
White Peacock ( 1 9 1 1 ) , The Trespasser ¸1 9 1 2) +no Sons and Lovers
¸1 9 1 3) vitL groving entLusi+sm. ln oroer to m+ke sure tL+t l
got + copy ol The Rainbow vLicL L+o Leen +nnounceo in tLe
summer ol 1 9 1 5 , l pl+ceo + oirect oroer vitL tLe puLlisLer,
MetLuen, +no it re+cLeo me on tLe o+y ol puLlic+tion, 3 0
:eptemLer. l re+o tLe Look vitL entLusi+sm +no vitLout tLe
sligLtest sense ol oEence. ALout nve veeks l+ter, + lev o+ys
LelorelleltlortLelront,lLe+rotL+titL+oLeenseizeoLytLe
police +no +ll lurtLer s+les suppresseo. l rememLer tLe +nger l
lelt+ttLetime+notL+tlvrote+n impulsive letterolsymp+tLy
totLe+utLor.
lmentiontLisperson+lexperienceLec+usemy+omir+tionlor
L+vrence+ttL+ttimev+spure+nooisinteresteo,+noitv+stLe
+ction oltLe police tL+t nrst suggesteo to me tL+t + vriter ol
oLvious sincerity+noLigLmor+lpurposecouloLereg+roeo+s
oLscene orpornogr+pLic +no prosecuteoin+ puLlic court. My
oisLelielincensorsLip is L+seoontLe sense olinjustice l tLen
lelt. lurtLer, l oo not Lelieve tL+t up to tL+t time ¸l v+s tLen
tventyone) l L+o Leen +v+re olpornogr+pLy +s sucL. Police
+ctionputtLeioe+intomyLe+o.
TLe eEect on L+vrence Limsellv+s ois+strous. At lrst Le
re+cteo c+lmly enougL, Lut it v+s + turningpoint in Lis lile.
lromtL+tmomentLev+sconvinceotL+tlngl+nov+slnisLeo,
+noLe ' struggleolike+ßyon+tre+clep+per` tole+vetLecoun
try. ' As lor tLe novel' , Le vrote to Lov+ro M+rsL, +Lout tLe
1 59
1 60 TH E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG R AP HY
suppression olThe Rainbow, ' l+m not surpriseo. Only tLe most
LorriLleleelingolLopelessnessL+scomeovermel+tely-lleel
+s il tLe vLole tLing vere coming to +n eno-tLe vLole of
lngl+no, ol tLe CLristi+n er+. +s il ours v+s tLe +ge only of
Decline+nol+ll.lt +lmostm+kesone oie. l c+nnotLe+rit-t
¡
is
lngl+no,tLisp+st . '
Moreinv+rolyLev+sLurttotLequickolLissoul.Helelt+s
iltLeveryspringsolcre+tionL+oLeenLlockeoLyignor+ntLut
poverlul lorces. He L+o vritten The Rainbow vitL gre+t
conviction-' itis + Lig Look, ` Le tololov+ro M+rsL, ' +noone
oltLe import+ntnovels intLe ì+ngu+ge. l tell you, vLo knov. `
lutLovcouloLegoonvriting vitL tLis tLre+tolsuppression
continu+lly Lelore Lim? ·ucL +n inLiLitionc+nnotLetoler+teo
Ly+nycre+tive+rtist.
lromtL+tmomentlLelieveLeresolveotoLurlsucLoef+nce
+t ' tLegrey onesoltLevorlo' tL+ttLeconceptolpornogr+pLy
vouloLecomeme+ningless.lorl+vrenceL+ocometotLecon-
clusion tL+t pornogr+pLy v+s + question olsecrecy. 'VitLout
secrecytLerevouloLenopornogr+pLy. ' Pornogr+pLyis+ sign
ol+ oise+seoconoitionoltLeLooypolitic+no ' tLev+yto tre+t
tLeoise+seisto comeoutintotLeopenvitLsex+nosexstimu
lus` . Asmug+nocorrupt societyL+ocL+llengeo+cre+tive +rtist
ol p+ssion+te purity ol intention +no LigL mor+l cour+ge.
l+vrence +ccepteotLecL+llenge+notLerestolLiscre+tivelile
v+s+m+rtyroomintLisc+use.
lor tLe moment l +m not concerneo vitL tLe rigLtness ol
l+vrence` sremeoy, LutvitLm+kingtLepointtL+tsuppression
olThe Rainbow v+stLeimmeoi+tec+useol+re+ctiontL+teventu-
+llyleototLevriting+nopuLlic+tionolLady Chatterley's Lover. TLe
censors, +cting on LeL+llol ' tLe oroin+ry vulg+r people' vitL
tLeir' oirtylittlesecret' ,inNovemLer 1 9 1 5 setup+vLolecL+in
olre+ctions tL+t enoeovitLtLe opens+leolmillionsolcopies
oltL+tLook, +noloreverexposeotL+t ' oirtylittlesecret' to tLe
vLolesomeligLt.
T H E P R OB L E M O F POR N OG R A P H Y 1 61
lut is tL+tre+lly tLe eno oltLe m+tter? ls l+vrence rigLt in
+ssuming t�+t ' to come out into tLe open vitL sex +no sex
stimulus villcuretLeoise+seoconoitionoltLeLooypoliticol
vLicLpornogr+pLyistLesymptom?
l+vrence Limsell oio not re+lly Lelieve tL+t tLe cure v+s +s
simple+stL+t.Heknev, LettertL+nmostpeopìe,tL+ttLeproL
lem v+s one ol soci+l consciousness, or perL+ps ol soci+l
unconsciousness,+notL+t +true conoitionolsoci+l conscious
ness c+n only Le LrougLt +Lout Ly processes tL+t involve the
vLoleconceptol' norm+lity' . Ve +regoverneo,especi+llyintLe
m+ss, Ly tLe vicious orives ol +n unconscious sucL +s lreuo
postul+teo.TLem+sses,inm+ttersolsex,+remoreneurotictL+n
tLe inoiviou+l, +no tLeir neuroticism ¸tLeir compulsive con
lormity) t+kestLelormol+nunyieloingmor+lity+g+instvLicL
tLe sensitive inoiviou+lreLels, Lis reLellionis Lis neuroticism.
·oci+l ins+nity Lreeos person+l ins+nity, in enoless circles ol
involvement.
Tvo lorms ol consciousness, tLerelore-Lum+n conscious
ness +no soci+l consciousness, in etern+l conßict. TLese lorms
ol consciousness must Lecome +v+re ol e+cL otLer, must
Lecome related. Ano tLen tLe true sell vill Le reve+leo. lut
too+yve +re sl+vesto soci+l consciousness. '·ex ooes not exist,
tLere is onlysexu+lity.Ano sexu+lity ismerely+ greeoy, Llino
sellseeking. ·ellseeking is tLe re+l motive ol sexu+lity. Ano
tLerelore, since tLe tLing sougLt is tLe s+me, tLe sell, tLe
mooe ol seeking is not very import+nt. Heterosexu+l, Lomo
sexu+l, n+rcissistic, norm+l, or incest, itis +ll tLe s+me tLing. lt
is just sexu+lity, not sex. lt is one ol tLe univers+l lorms ol
sellseeking. lverym+n, every vom+n, just seeks Lis ovn sell,
Ler ovn sell, in tLe sexu+l experience. lt is tLe picture over
+g+in, vLetLer in sexu+lity or sells+crilce, greeo or cL+rity,
tLe s+me tLing, tLe sell, tLeim+ge, tLe iool, tLe im+ge olme,
+nonorm'
'TLetruesellisnot+v+re tL+titis +selí.A Liro, +s itsings,
æ
1 62 T H E P R OB L E M OF PO R N OG R A P H Y
sings itsell lut not accoroing to a picture. lt Las no ioea
ol
itsell'
3
lnallconsioerationsoltLisproLlemolpornograpLyvemust
frst get rio oltLe ioea tLat itisa personal proLlemonly¬' tLe
inaoequacy' , asTrig antlurrovcalls it, ' oltLevievvLicLposits
asickinoivioualasoveragainstavellsociety. ' PornograpLy,like
oelinquency in general, is a social proLlem ano it can only Le
solveoLymetLoostLatinvolvesocialpsycLology-groupanaly
sis anogroup tLerapy. OltLis trutLpsycLoanalysts, lromlreuo
to lurrov ano llein, Lave provioeo irrelutaLle evioence. TLe
cure, iltLere is to Le a cure, vill involve every normal social
activitylromLreastleeoing to tLemoralanopoliticalstructure
oltLe state. ltmeans a complete reorientation oltLe aims ano
metLoosoleoucation.Attemptstooeal vitLtLeproLleminany
moreisolateolasLionareeitLerignorantorLypocritical.
I l l
Ve mustapproacLany oiscussionoltLeprocessolsuLlimation
very tentatively Lecause it ooes not seem to me tLat psycLo-
analysts, orexpertsintLe psycLologyoleoucation, speakvitL
any clear or uniteo voice on tLe matter. :uLlimation may Le
oefneo as ' tLe process oloiverting unacceptaLle, unconscious
liLioinal orives into socially acceptaLle cLannels' , a oefnition
vioe enougL to cover every lorm ol altruistic activity lrom
scouting to sculpture, lromnursingto scientifc researcL.lutin
tLelimiteo senseinvLicLlam going tooiscussitLrießyintLe
presentcontext, suLlimationmeanstLetranslormationol liLio
inalorives¸sexualinstincts)intosociallyacceptaLlelantasiesano
symLols. lreuoLimsellregaroeo tLe process as one ollimiteo
applicationanooouLtlulemcacy,LuttLisvasperLapsouetoLis
From a review of Trig ant Burrow' s The Social Basis of Consciousness, 1 927 . Phoenix
( 1 93 6) pp. 3 8 , 1 -2.
T H E P R OB L E M OF PO R N OG R AP HY 1 63
LelieltLattLeartist' sgiltsarelunoamentallyneurotic-' tLeart
ist ' , Levrote, `LasalsoanintroverteooispositionanoLasnotlar
togotoLecomeneurotic. ¯ltvouloLeoißculttoprovetLattLe
average artist is any more neurotic tLan tLe average PLilistine.
lreuolurtLerLelieveotLattLe artistis 'endowed vitL apoverlul
capacity lor suLlimation ano vitL a certain ßexiLility in tLe
repressions oetermining tLe conßict' ¸tLe conßictvLicL migLt
otLervise leao to a neurosis) . TLe voro ' enooveo' seems to
imply a laculty psycLology not very cLaracteristic ol lreuo' s
tLougLti ngeneral.A capacity lor suLlimation ano a fexibility lor
repressionare surely processes suLject to variation anocontrol,
totrainingano eoucation.AnolurtLer, vLenlreuosays tLat ' A
true artist Las more ¸tLan tLose vLo are notartists) atLisois
posal' in tLis process ol suLlimation Lecause ` frst ol all Le
unoerstanos Lov to elaLorate Lis oayoreams, so tLat tLey lose
tLat personalnotevLicL grates upon strange ears ano Lecome
enj oyaLle to otLers, LeknovsLovtomooily tLem sußciently
so tLat tLeir origininproLiLiteo sources is not easilyoetecteo.
lurtLer,LepossessestLemysteriousaLilitytomouloLisparticu
larmaterialuntilitexpressestLeioeasolLislantasylaitLlully'-
inallsucLstatementsLeisascriLingtotLeartistunusualpovers
ano mysterious aLilities vLicL oo not really oiner except in
oegreelromtLepoversanoaLilitiespossesseoatLirtLLyevery
inoivioual. l am not asserting tLat exceptional artists oo not
possess exceptional gilts ola psycLosomatic origin, LutvLat l
oo assertontLeLasisolavioeexperienceolartisticactivitiesin
young cLilorenistLatallLumanLeingsare LornvitLtLe cap-
acity to elaLorate tLeir oayoreams, to moulo tLeir particular
materialuntilitexpressestLeirlantasieslaitLlully.LverycLilois
a potential artist in tLis sense, Lut eoucation is at present con
ceiveo, not as a process ol elaLorating oayoreams, Lut as a
This, and the succeeding quotations, come from Introductor
y
Lectures on
Ps
y
choanal
y
sis. Tr<s. Joan Riviere. London, 1 9 2 2, pp. 3 1 4-1 5 .
æ
1 64 T H E P R OB L E M L F POR N OG RA P H Y
processoleliminating tLemaltogetLerlrom tLe cLilo' s mental
anopracticallile, anoreplacing tLemLysocialconventionsano
clicLes olexpression ¸' common sense' ) tLat orive tLe instincts
unoergrouno, lrom vLere tLey emerge eventuaìly in various
lormsolsocialaggressiveness, incluoingpornograpLy.
PornograpLy, tLerelore, is one more proouct oltLe rational
traoition, ol tLat process in Listory vLicL llake calleo ' an
aLstractoLjectingpovertLatnegativeseverytLing.
'Thi s is the Spectre of Man, the Holy Reasoni ng Power,
And in its Hol i ness is cl osed the Abomi nati on of Desol ati on. '
TLat vas, olcourse, also Lavrence' s conclusion, ano iltLe
millionsolpeoplevLoreaoLady Chatterley's Lover vouloonlyreao
Lis Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious ¸l9!l ) ano Lis Fantasia of the
Unconscious ( l9!/ ) tLere migLt Le some Lope ol a cLange ol
mino ano Leart tLat voulo leao eventually to a nev vay ol
eoucation, a nev structure ol society, ano an eno to sexual
perversion ano pornograpLy, to mental illness ol every kino,
incluoingj uvenileoelinquencyanoaggression.
TLetrouLlevitLsex,Lavrenceuseotosay, istLatitLasgone
to tLe Leao. lt Las Lecome an anair olinstruction ano unoer-
stanoing. it must Le restoreo to tLe unconscious. ' Yet ve mast
knov, ilonlyinoroertolearnnottoknov. TLesupremelesson
olLumanconsciousnessistolearnLovnot to know. TLatis,Lov
not to interfere . . .
' Loucation means leaoing out tLe inoivioual nature in eacL
mananovomantoitstruelullness.Youcan' tootLatLystimu
lating tLemino.To pumpeoucationinto tLeminoislatal.TLat
vLicL suLlimates lrom tLe oynamic consciousness into tLe
mental consciousness Las alone any value. TLis, in most inoi
viouals, isvery little inoeeo. :o tLat most inoiviouals, unoer a
vise government, voulo Le most carelully protecteo lrom all
vicious attempts to inject extraneous ioeas into tLem. Lvery
TH E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG R A P H Y 1 65
extraneous ioea, vLicL Las no inLerent root in tLe oynamic
consciousness,isasoangerousasanailorivenintoayoungtree.
lortLemassolpeople,knovleogemastLesymLolical,mytLical,
oynamic. ' ` Lavrence oio not go on to say tLe ` LigLer, respon-
siLle, conscious class' vLo areaLletocreateanointerpretsucL
symLols are tLe artists, ano l tLink Le vas vrong to tLink ol
LigLer ano lover classes in tLis connection. True symLols are
notlormeoLyclassesorLyinoiviouals,tLeyarearcLetypal,ano
proceeo lrom tLe collective unconscious, as |ung Las sLovn.
Artists-seers ol all kinos-are tLose vLo are capaLle ol
meoiating-olacting as a Lrioge-Letveen tLe group ano tLe
collective unconscious. Not leaoers, as Lavrence oangerously
calleolor, Lutmeoiators.
lsLallproceeotoargueintLenextsectiontLatsymLolization
or suLlimationisnot enougL. at anyrate,itooesnotconstitute
tLe complete revolution in our attituoe to sex tLat ve neeo
LeloretLesexualinstinctscan' comeoutintotLeopen' . :uLlim-
ation oltLe sex instincts is tLe Lest ve can oo in tLe kino ol
societytLatisacceptaLleintLepresentstageolsocialevolution.
ltismoretLana camoußage-itisa translormation. lutLy its
very nature it cannot Le ` unoerstooo'-tLe acceptance ol it
oepenosonitsunconsciousness,ontLelacttLatveoonotreally
knovvLatistakingplace.luttLerealneeo,asLavrencesaio,is
consciousness-not sell-consciousness ¸vLicL ve Lave) nor
social consciousness ¸vLicL ve Lave lost) , Lut relateoness,
mutualconsciousness, oroialogicconsciousnessasMartinluLer
voulocall it. TLisis sometLingtLatisnotconsistentvitLcon
ventional morality. inoeeo, it requires tLe raising ol con
ventional moralityonto a spirituaìlevel olvLicLperLaps only
NietzscLeLasLaoany aoequate conception-Leyono Coooano
Lvil.
Fantasia of the Unconscious ( 1 9 3 0 ed) pp. 6 7-8 .
1 66 T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG R A P H Y
I V
Myfn+l +rgument is limiteo to tLe cre+tive process itsell, tLe
meoi+tive process,+sve sLoulomoreproperlyc+ll it. ltlollovs
lromvL+tlL+ves+io ¸orvL+tlL+vequoteolreuoorL+vrence
+s s+ying) tL+t tLe cre+tion ol+ vorlo oll+nt+sy tL+t meoi+tes
Letveen our instincts +no tLe society in vLicL ve live is +n
infnitely oelic+teprocess.Anyl+lsestepintLeoirectionoloef-
niteioe+s,conceptu+liz+tion,ment+lconsciousness,villoestroy
tLe necess+ry spont+neity oltLe process. l Lelieve tL+t +ll vLo
L+ve given +ny oeep tLougLt to tLe n+ture ol tLe cre+tive or
meoi+tive +ctivityve c+ll +rt-Pl+to, Aristotle, CoetLe, :cLiller,
Colerioge, le+ts, lieoler +no luLer, to mention only tLe most
perceptive-L+ve +greeo tL+t spont+neity, unconsciousness, is
tLe essenti+l conoition. 'TLe most superL mystery ve L+ve
L+roly recognizeo, ' L+vrence c+lleoit. 'TLeimmeoi+te, inst+nt
sell' 'TLelruitlulzero, ' luLerc+lls it, ' tLeLe+olongpoversol
utter nevness'-+n instinct olorigin+tion tL+t is +utonomous
+nonotoeriv+tory.
Modern psychol ogi sts are i ncl i ned to derive the mul ti form
human soul from a si ngl e pri mal el ement-the ' l i bi do' , the
'wi l l to power' , and the l i ke. But thi s i s real l y onl y the general ­
i zati on of certai n degenerate states i n whi ch a si ngl e i nsti nct
not merel y domi nates but al so spreads parasi ti cal l y through
the other. They begin wi th the cases (in our ti me of loss of
communi ty and oppressi on, the i nnumerabl e cases) where
such a hypertrophy breeds the appearance of excl usi veness,
they abstract rul es from them, and appl y them wi th the whol e
theoretical and practi cal questi onabl eness of such appl icati ons.
I n opposi ti on to these doctri nes and methods, whi ch i mpover­
ish the soul , we must conti nual l y poi nt out that human i nward­
ness i s a pol yphony i n whi ch no voice can be ' reduced' to
another, and i n whi ch the unity cannot be grasped anal yti cal ly,
T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N O G RA P H Y 1 67
but onl y heard in the present harmony. One of the l eadi ng
voices i s the i nsti nct of ori gi nati on. ' 6
luLergoesontopointouttL+t tLeorigin+tor, tLecre+tor, is
Ly n+ture +nonecessitysolit+ry, +no tL+tLe mustre+cL out to
Lislellovcre+tures lost intLevorlo, to LeLislrienos or com
r+oes LeyonotLe +rts. Only intLis v+y ooes LeL+ve +n +v+re
ness+no+sL+reolmutu+lity.lromtLispointluLeroevelopsLis
pLilosopLy oloi+logue-oi+logue +s + principle or metLoo ol
eouc+tion. TL+t ooes not concern us in tLe present context-
onlyLisperceptiontL+torigin+tionis+n+utonomousinstinct,+
solit+ry +ctivity.loonotvisLto cl+imluLer' s+utLoritylortLe
conclusionsloeoucelromtLisl+ct.
NevertLeless it lollovs, lrom tLe vLole pLilosopLy ol +rt
+ssoci+teovitL tLe n+mes l L+ve mentioneo, tL+t intLe +ct ol
origin+tion, vLen tLe +rtist Lecomes +v+re oltLe inst+nt sell,
tLe lruitlul zero olconsciousness, Le c+nnot +tteno to extern+l
injunctionsolmor+lity or soci+l propriety. lutilve m+keour
selves lree lrom soci+l responsiLility ¸+s ve must) ve oo not
necess+rily lree ourselves lrom person+l responsiLility. 'As ve
¨Lecomelree¨ , ' luLers+ys, 'tLisle+ningonsometLing ¸+tr+o
ition+lLono, +l+v, +oirection) ismore+nomore oenieo tous,
+noourresponsiLilitymustLecomeperson+l+nosolit+ry. ' '
lutmust. TLere c+nLeno origin+tion, no +rt, no meoi+tion
vitLtLecollectiveunconscious, ilvevillingly+noconsciously
suLmitourinstinctolorigin+tiontotr+oition+lLonos+nomor+l
cooes. TLisis +tonce tLep+r+oox+no tLeoilemm+oltLesitu
+tion,+no tLere+sonvLyve mustp+ssion+telyreject+lllorms
olcensorsLip+nolegisl+tivecontrol.TLe+rtistmustLelree. lut
Lemust+lsoLeresponsiLle.
VL+t is me+nt Ly person+l responsiLility in tLis context?
ln luLer's opinion it presupposes `one vLo +ooresses me
Beteen Man and Man. London, 1 947, ¿¿. 8 5-6.
Ibid. , ¿¿. 92-3.
1 68 T H E P R OB L E M O F PO R N OG R A P H Y
primarily lrom a realm independent olmysell, and to vLom l
am ansveraLle' . ln one vord, Cod. Or ve migLt say TrutL-
equally anaLstractionsolaraslamconcerned.lllmustcLoose
anaLstraction,lsLouldsayleauty-tLe LeautiluoltLeprayer
ol:ocrates. ' grant me to Le Leautilul in tLe inner man' . And
sinceve are discussing tLis question olpersonal responsiLility
in relation to literature and tLe arts, tLat cLoice sLould Le
adequate.TLereasonvLytLegenuineartist,tLeoriginator,does
notusuallyresorttopornograpLyisLecauseitonendsLissense
olLeauty.ltLinkLesometimes,andlegitimately,commitssucL
an onence lrom a sense olpersonalresponsiLilityto tLatotLer
aLstractionvLicLve callTrutL.TLat,l am sure,istLej ustifca
tion lor Lavrence' s onence, and perLaps lor ]oyce' s. lut tLe
personal responsiLility ol tLe artist in tLis dilemma must Le
granted,LemustLe lree to cLooseLetveen TrutL and leauty,
Letveenrealismandidealism.
lnanyvLolesocietytLecLoicesLouldLemadevitLoutlear
olpatLological repercussions vitLin tLe Lody ol society. lut
modern society is sick, disgustingly sick, and as l Lavealready
said, pornograpLy is Lut one oltLe symptoms. As luLer says
truly, tLere Las never Leen sucL a deep-reacLing and com
preLensivecrisisinListoryasours,loritisacrisisolconfdence
inlile itsell `VLere confdencereignsmanmustolten, indeed,
adaptLisvisLestotLecommandsolLiscommunity ¸LyvLicL
luLermeansrepressionandsuLlimationoltLeinstincts) ,LutLe
must not repress tLem to sucL an extent tLat tLe repression
acquires a dominating signifcance lor Lis lile . . . Only iltLe
organic community disintegrates lrom vitLin and mistrust
Lecomes lile' s Lasic note does tLe repression acquire its
dominating importance. ' lt is in sucL a condition ¸vLicL is
ours) tLat suLlimation acquires an exceptional importance, lor
tLere is no longer a sense olcommunity, `a Luman vLoleness
vitL tLe lorce and tLe courage to manilest itsell lor spirit to
arise tLe energyoltLe repressedinstincts mustmostlyfrst Le
m
T H E P R OB L E M O F P OR N OGR A P H Y 1 69
¨suLlimated¨, tLetracesolitsorigin clingtotLespiritanditcan
mostlyassertitsellagainsttLeinstinctsonlyLyconvulsivealien
ation.TLedivorceLetveenspiritandinstinctsisLere, asolten,
tLeconsequenceoltLedivorceLetveenmanandman. '
AnotLer vay olsaying tLis vould Le tLat an insecure and
aìienatedsocietyLaslosttLemoralrigLttointerlereinanairsol
tLe spirit, and artistic creation, even at tLe lov levels olcon
temporaryfction, is an anair ol tLe spirit. PornograpLy does
matter, Lecause it is one oltLe many manilestations olman's
spiritual corruption and social alienation, Lut to treat it as an
isolatedpLenomenonisnotmerelyuseless,LutpositivelyLarm
lul to tLe spirit ol man, already alienated and sinking in tLe
tumultolour socialconßicts.VLat doesnotmatterisvLetLer
Lady Chatterey's Lover or Uysses ispornograpLicintLemeaning ol
tLe lav. TLeonlyquestionisvLetLersucLvorks sendout any
ßicker olligLt lrom tLe sinking lamp oltLe spirit, and oltLis
tLereisno question. lnalltLeturLidcLaosolmodernliterature
]oyceandLavrenceareamongtLelev autLorsvLo giveustLe
conviction tLattLe:piritolCod is stillmanilestintLe creative
geniusolman, stillLroodingontLelaceoltLevaters.
1 3
CIVI LIZATION AND TH E
S ENS E OF QUALITY
It i s art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, for
our consideration and application of these things, and I know
of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its
process.
Henry James, Letter, I I , ¸Oõ.
Art, as l Lave so olten insisteoin tLese pages, is one oltLose
vague spLeres olLumanactivityvLicLescapeanyveryprecise
oelnition. Criticism is merely an approximation tovaros tLat
unattainaLleeno, anenolessmultiplication oloistinctions. One
sucL oistinction more lrmly estaLlisLeo tLan most is tLat
Letveen art ano :nt:ttainm:nt. An entertainment is sometLing
vLicLoistractsusoroivertsuslrom tLeroutineoloailylile. lt
makes us lor tLe time Leing lorget our cares ano vorries, it
interrupts ourconscious tLougLts ano LaLits, rests our nerves
ano minos, tLougLitmay incioentally exLaust our Looies. Art,
on tLe otLer Lano, tLougL it may oivert us lrom tLe normal
routine ol our existence, causes us in some vay or otLer to
C I V I L I ZAT I ON A N D TH E S E N S E O F QU A L I TY 1 71
Lecome conscious ol tLat existence. MattLev Arnolo oelneo
poetryastLecriticismol lile-vitLasaving clause,illremem-
LerrigLtly,aLout 'LigLseriousness' . loonotliketLepLrase,lor
it suggests tLat art is some kino ol intellectual activity. Art is
ratLeranexpressionolouroeepestinstinctsanoemotions,itisa
seriousactivityvLoseenoisnotsomucLto oivertastovitalize.
lavoiovoroslike`improve`ano` uplilt`LecausetLeyonlyapply
toaspecialkinoolart.Artisnotnecessarilyamoralactivity,ano
itstonic enectismaoe tLrougLtLesenses.NevertLeless,evenin
its purest, or most aLstract-in Oscar Viloe' s sense, its most
useless lorms. in one ol :Lakespeare' s songs. or a minuet Ly
Mozart, or a oraving Ly loucLer-even tLen art is raoically
oinerentlromamusement.ltooesnotìeaveusvitLoutanecting
us, ano anecting us, accoroing to some scale olvalue, lor tLe
Letter.
TLis virtue in art is sLovn Ly its survivaì value. Historically
speaking,vecannotoistinguisLacivilizationexceptLyitsart.At
anyrate, tLe more a civilizationis suLjecteo to tLe testoltime,
tLemoreitisreouceotoitsvorksolart.TLerestrotsavay.Lven
tLeremoteperioosolpreListoryLecomevivioloramomentin
somecave-oravingorlragmentolcarveoLone.Historicalcivil
izationLeginsvitLtLe epicpoems CilgamesL, or tLe liLle, or
Homer.:Larosolpottery, painteoorinciseo,aremoreeloquent
tLantLe namesolemperorsorlelosolLattle.Citiesanolertile
lanos oisappear, Lut Lurieo in tLeir ruins, in tomLs ano sanc
tuaries,ve lnoa vase, aj evel, a lev coins, maoeLy tLeartists
oltLoseoays, vLicLspeakto us inclearlanguageanotellusol
tLestatusanocLaracteroltLatlostcivilization.TLeytellusnot
merelytLatsucLanosucLapeoplevorsLippeotLesun,ortLat
tLey lougLt in cLariots, or Lelieveo in tLe resurrection oltLe
oeao.TLese are incioental items olknovleogevLicLve migLt
possiLlyoerivelromsomeotLersource.lutvorks olartspeak
more oirectly to us. lor Ly tLeirlorm ano style tLeygive us a
measureoltLerelnementolacivilization.TLeaestLeticsense-
1 72 C I V I L I ZATI O N A N D TH E S E N S E O F QU A L I TY
tLel+cultyLyvLicLve +ppreci+te vorks ol+rt-L+s its v+g+r
ies, +t one moment ve execr+te, s+y, CotLic +rcLitecture, +no +
century l+ter it is ex+lteo +Love +ll otLer styles. But tLere is +n
ioe+l +estLetic sc+le olv+lues, ¡ust +s tLere is +n ioe+l sc+le ol
mor+lv+lues, +noLytLeme+sureoltLissc+le+llciviliz+tions+re
giventLeirouer+nk.
TLe surviv+lv+lueol+rt m+y Lere+oily +omitteo, LutvL+t,
tLe cynic migLt +sk, is tLe v+lue ol surviv+l? VL+t ooes it
m+tter,vL+t oioitm+tter to tLe c+vem+n oltLe :tone Age, or
tLe sculptors ol Assyri+, or tLe potters ol CLin+, tL+t some
remote civiliz+tionvoulooisintertLeirvorks +no juoge tLem
gooo?
Herevel+ce+proLlemvLicLisluno+ment+ltoourl+itLin
tLe lutue. lt is + luno+ment+l question tL+t oivioes m+nkino
into tLosevLo Lelieve+llLum+n+ctivitytoLev+in,le+oing to
no re+liz+LleimprovementintLisvorlo,+notLosevLoLelieve
tL+tm+nL+s+cquireo,Loveverslovly+noLovevertent+tively,
tLeinstrumentsolsellimprovement,+nomovestov+ros+more
enjoy+Llelile.
TLereis+pLr+se,tLeperlectiLilityolm+n¸proL+Llyfrstuseo
LyCoovinorLisoisciple:Lelley) vLicLL+sLeentLeoLjectol
mucLrioiculeontLep+rtoltLosevLooesp+irolm+nkino,+no
fnoperlectiLilityonlyinoivineorun+tt+in+Llere+lmsolLeing.
lt is, oLviously, +n inc+utious pLr+se, + st+te ol perlectiLility
voulo Le + st+te ol immoLility, olfn+l +tt+inment, +no it is
oimculttoconceiveol lile+stLusst+Lilizeo.ButtLepLr+seooes
not represent tLe true ooctrine ol progress, vLicL is not so
mucL +ooctrine+s +mjtL. Onec+nt+ke+ longvievor +sLort
vievoltLelutureolm+nkino.On+sLortvievve c+nonlyLe
pr+ctic+l+nore+listic.ilm+nimproves, itis+t+r+tetovLicLve
c+nnot +ccommoo+te our immeoi+te politics. A precise set ol
oogm+s is proL+Lly +s mucL +s onegener+tionc+n cope vitL.
But + Lelielin progress Lelongs to + long viev olm+nkino' s
luture. itis+mytLic+l conceptionquitep+r+lleltotLemytLic+l
C I V I L I ZAT I ON A N D TH E S E N S E O F QU A L I TY 1 73
conceptionsolreligion.ltmerelysuLstitutes, lor+supern+tur+l
lingoom olHe+ven to Le +tt+ineo in+notLervorlo, + Coloen
Age to Le +tt+ineointLisvorlo.Ano +s + mytLitis+s gooo +s
+ny otLer mytL, l voulo cl+im tL+t it is mucL more sensiLle
Lec+use it is mucL more Lum+n. TLe oogm+ ol origin+l sin,
vLicLisonereo+s+n+ltern+tive,vouloLeinsupport+Lleoioit
notL+ve,+s+coroll+ry,tLepromiseols+lv+tiontLrougLoivine
intervention,+noonem+ysuggestvitLoutcynicismtL+tintLis
c+setLevisLisl+tLerto tLetLougLt.TLemytLolprogress, on
tLeotLerL+no,L+snoillegitim+teonspring.ltisLorn+s+visL,
or+s+vill,+notLereisno +ttempttooisguiseitsinnocent+no
Lopeluln+ture.
TLespiritoloisillusionmentvLicLprev+ilsinourv+rriooen
vorloisproL+Lly+re+ctiontotLeevolution+ryoptimismoltLe
nineteentL century. Let us lreely +omit tL+tmucL tL+t goes Ly
tLen+meolliLer+lismistoLeioentifeovitLtL+ts+mespiritol
optimism. But l tLink Ly nov ve L+ve le+rneo to oistinguisL
Letveen tLe lreeoom to oo +sve like +no tLe outy to cre+te +
lree vorlo. l see no re+son +t +ll vLy tLe rigLt to cre+te +n
+rtifci+l sc+rcityolgooos,ortLerigLtto exploitn+tivel+Lourin
tLecolonies, sLouloLeevenremotely +ssoci+teovitLtLe con
cept olliLerty. LiLerty +no lreeoom, tLesev+lues ve +re nov
oelenoing,L+venoeconomicpurpose. tLey +respiritu+lv+lues,
+no+ssucLoepenoontLefneperceptionsoltLosevLogu+ro
tLem. ]ust+stLe oogm+s olreligion oepenolortLeirinterpret
+tiononl+lliLleLum+n+gents,sotLeioe+lsolliLerty+resuLject
totLes+mecL+nce.Youc+nnotputononesioecert+inioe+lsol
lile, olconouct, olsoci+l oroer, +no s+y tL+t tLese represent +
oivine oispens+tion to vLicL +ll men must suLmit, +no ontLe
otLersioepl+ce+llotLerioe+ls+noconoemntLem+sLum+n,+ll
tooLum+n.TLecLoiceisLetveentLeinterpret+tionoloogm+,
supern+tur+l or oivine in origin, +no tLe interpret+tion ol tLe
n+tur+lpLenomen+ollile-Letveenl+itL+nore+son.lneitLer
c+se tLe interpreting +gent is+Lum+nLeing, +no tLel+lliLility
..
1 74 C I V I L I ZAT I ON A N D T H E S E N S E OF QU A L I TY
inLerentinourLumanity extenostoeveryrangeoltLougLtano
leeling.
Ve maytLerelorereaßrmarationallaitLinLumanprogress.
lut ìet us Le very clear tLatve oo not conluse spiritualvitL
materialprogress, let us recognize tLe uncertainty olour aims
ano tLe leeLleness olour agents, letus proceeo vitL Lumility
anomeasure.lutletusattLesametimeoeclare,tLattLrougLout
all tLe cLances olListory, in tLe lace oloeleat ano oespair, in
spite ollong epocLs ol oarkness ano retrogression, man Las
estaLlisLeo laculties tLat enaLle Lim to oistinguisL Letveen
immeoiatesatislactionsanoaLsolutevalues.HeLasestaLlisLeoa
moral sense to guioe Lim in Lis oealings vitL Lis lellov-men
anoanaestLeticsensetoenaLleLimtomooilytLelileolreason,
anotLougLtLelileolreasonisstillsuLj ecttoallmannerolraios
anoreLuns, itexistsasapracticalioeal,extenoingtovioerano
vioer circles olLumanity, ano promising an eartLly paraoise
never to Le attaineo only Lecause eacL stage tovaros its
realizationcreatesasuperiorlevel.
lLavejustoelneotLe aestLeticsenseas tLelacultytLatenaLles
man to mooily tLe quality olLis environment. Quality is, ol
course, tLe essential voro in tLis oelnition. TLere are otLer
laculties, laculties vLicL migLt Le oescriLeo as tecLnical or
practical, tLat enaLlemanto mooily tLequantity olLis environ
ment.toprooucemorecorn, toutilizemorepover,to conserve
moreenergy.luttLeselaculties,tLougLtLeyplayanimportant
partintLe grovtLolcivilization,arenotourpresentconcern.l
lreely aomit tLat in some cases it is oißcult to oisentangle tLe
tvo elements. tLe aestLetic appeal oltLe CotLic catLeoral, lor
example, oepenos very oirectly on tLe solution ol tecLnical
proLlemsinLuiloing, moreoLviously,tLequalityolmusicLas,
vitLincertainlimits,LeengoverneoLytLetecLnicalperlection
oltLeinstrumentsavailaLle.
llvemaketLisoistinctionLetveenartanotLeinstrumentsol
C I V I L I Z AT I ON A N D T H E S E N S E O F QU A L I TY 1 75
art,tLenltLinkveareLounotoaomittLatvLateverprogressin
art is oiscerniLlevitLin Listorical times is oue to an improve
mentinits instrument ratLer tLan to any cLange intLe instinct
tLatoperatestLem.TLeoinerenceLetveenaLusLman' sengrav
ing ol an antelope ano tLe oraving ol a similar animal Ly
Pisanello is lully expìaineo Ly tLe oinerence Letveen a sLarp
eneo ßint vorking on tLe surlace ola rock ano a silver-point
pencil vorking on parcLment. TLe civilizations LeLino tLese
tvo manilestations oltLe aestLetic sense Lear no comparison,
LuttLeaestLeticsenseistLesame.:imilarly,vLovouloLeLolo
enougLtosaytLattLepoetryolTennyson,orevenol:Lakespeare,
sLoveoanyqualitativeaovanceontLepoetryolHomer? VLat-
everart ve examine, ve are oriven to tLis conclusion. tLat tLe
unoerlyinglacultyorimpulseisrelativelyconstant,tLattLevari-
ationsare oueto tLe accioentsoltimeanocircumstancevLicL
release tLis impulse or laculty. TLe laculty vitL vLicL ve are
enooveomustLeeoucateo,encourageo,provioeovitLsuitaLle
instruments ano a revaroing material. Art ooes not, like tecL
nical skill, arise lrom tLe necessities ola situation. itis not an
invention. Alas, itisperlectly possiLle lor tLe vLoleprocess ol
civilization to carry onvitLout art. ` To carry on' -tLepLrase
Las a provisional ring, ano lrom a vioer point olviev it is
equallycertaintLatacivilizationvitLoutartvillperisL-perisL
materiallyanolaoelromtLememoryolmankino.
Artisgrace,artislorm,artis-amongallpossiLlemannersol
ooingormakingatLing-tLemostmemoraLle.TLatparticular
manner ol ooing or making a tLing is memoraLle Lecause it
stimulates our senses, Lecause it Lrings Luman inventions
vitLin measuraLle oistance ol organic grovtL, Lecause lor a
moment tLe vill ol man seems to Le ioentileo vitL tLe
universallorcesollile.
Artreoeemsouractionslrommonotonyanoourminoslrom
Loreoom.Ve Lave tomaketLingsano to ootLings inoroerto
ìive, Lut tLe routine ol tLis enoless repetition ol menial tasks
1 76 C I V I L I ZATI ON A N D T H E S E N S E O F QU A L I TY
voulooulltLesensesanooeaoentLemino unlesstLerevastLe
possiLilityolooingtLingsanomakingtLingsvitLaprogressive
senseolquality.TLatsenseolqualityistLe aestLeticsense, ano
intLeenotLeaestLeticsenseistLevitalsense, tLesensevitLout
vLicLve oie.
1 4
TH E GREAT DE BATE
:irCLarles ¯nov' s Reoe Lecture' vas a signilcant contriLution
to vLat is unoouLteoly tLe Creat DeLate olour age. a oeLate
LetveentvopLilosopLiesollilevLicLLeseesasa ' polarity'ol
art ano science. `literary intellectuals at one pole-at tLe otLer
scientists,anoastLemostrepresentative,tLepLysicalscientists' .
Polarityimplies anoppositionoltvo, anoolonly tvo, pos
siLlepointsolviev.TLatapolarityexistsisnottoLeoenieo,Lut
toputliteraryintellectualsatoneenoolitanopLysicalscientists
attLeotLerenoistomisrepresenttLe situation.TLetitleol:ir
CLarles' slectureis ` TLeTvo CulturesanoTLe:cientilcRevolu
tion' , Lut in lact tLere are tLree cultures ano tLe revolution in
questionisnotscientilc LuttecLnological.:irCLarlesconluses
tLe issue Ly not clearly oistinguisLing tLe scientilc lrom tLe
inoustrialrevolutions, lortLere isa oistinction tLat is LotLlac
tual ano Listorical. :ir CLarles novLere makes tLis oistinction,
ano so lails to appreciate tLe point ol viev ol tLe ` literary
intellectual' ¸tLepLraseitsellisloaoeovitLpre|uoice.tLecritics
1 The Two Cultures and the Scientifc Revolution. Cambridge University Press, 1 960.
1 78 TH E G R E AT D E BATE
olour tecLnological civilization incluoe, not only poets, Lut
pLilosopLers, politicians, anoevenmenolscience like linstein
ano Niels loLr) . l oo not Lelieve tLat tLe typical intellectual is
antiscientifc, or ignorant ol tLe elements ol science. lut Le
ooes look vitL suspicion on tecLnology, vLicL migLt Le
oefneo as tLe exploitation olscientiEcknovleoge lor material
gain.1Leintellectual` scaseagainsttLeTecLnologicalRevolution
rests on tLe Leliel tLat its processes, vLicL are lunctional or
mecLanical, vill eno Ly oestroying certain mental processes
uponvLicLLumanlile, inanyvaluaLlesense,nnallyoepenos.
lt is, lunoamentally, a question ol values. :cience is olten
oefneo astLeoisinteresteopursuitolknovleoge,tLatisto say,
tLe accumulation oloL| ective lacts. lut lacts intLemselvesare
valuaLleonlyinsolaras tLeyserveLumanenos.ltistLeamLi-
tionoltLe'pure`scientisttoexcluoevalue| uogements,anotLat
isproLaLlyvLyLenovfnosLimsellcommitteototLeTecLno
logicalRevolution.1ecLnologistsooLaveasystemolvalues, itis
perlectlyexpresseointLeaoage` knovleogeispover` . OltentLe
aimseemstoLepoverloritsovnsake,Lutanioeologistlike:ir
CLarlesvouloproLaLlysaytLatitispoverlortLesakeolproo
uctivity, tLat is to say, lor tLe sakeolmore gooos ano aLigLer
stanoaro olliving. TLe intellectual voulo reply tLat a LigLer
stanoaroolmaterialcomlortisillusoryilitcanonlyLesecureo
Ly lunctional or mecLanical processes tht oestroy sucL vital
lactors as sensuous oiscrimination ano lormative imagination.
TLe intellectual' s case against tLe scientist is tLat Le gives Lis
inoiscriminate support to tecLnology, Lis case against
tecLnologyistLatitoestroys ¸perLapsLyatropLyratLertLanLy
misuse) tLevital sourcesolourLumanism.
TLescientistsLaveontLeirsioeoltLeCreatDeLatevLattLey
voulo call ' all tLe lacts' . TLese lacts vary lrom tLe starving
millions olAsia ano Alrica, vLo can only Le given a civilizeo
stanoarool livingLyanenormouslyaccelerateooevelopmentol
inoustryanotecLnology, totLeoangersolcommunism,vLicL,
TH E G R EAT D E BATE 1 79
accoroingto ourpoliticians, canonlyLeavoioeoLy Liggerano
Letter atomicveapons, vLicLonly scientists canproouce. Our
very existence as a nation, :ir CLarles varns us, oepenos on a
reorientation ol our vLole cultural traoition tovaros science
anoavaylromanirrelevantintellectualism.
:ir CLarles :nov can Laroly oisguise Lis contempt lor our
leaoing intellectuals. He mentions Mr. T :. Lliot, Yeats, Pouno
anoVynoLamLevis, anotLougLLecoversLisovnopinionsLy
quoting tLeopinionolananonymous ` scientistoloistinction' ,

or 'most olmy scientifc acquaintances' , or `nonscientists ol
strongoovntoeartLinterest' , tLerecanLenooouLttLatLetoo
sLarestLeirlovopinionolintellectualsassucL.VitLPlumLano
lullock ` ano some ol my American sociological lrienos' , Le
voulo 'vigorouslyreluseto Le corralleo in a cultural LoxvitL
people tLey voulon` tLe seen oeao vitL, or to Le regaroeo as
Lelping toprooucea climatevLicLvoulonotpermitolsocial
Lope' .
`NineoutoltenoltLosevLo Lave oominateoliterarysensi
tivity in our time-veren' ttLey not only politically silly, Lut
politically vickeo? Dion't tLe inßuence ol all tLey represent
LringAuscLvitztLatmucLnearer? ` :irCLarlesagrees-'ltisno
useoenyingtLelacts,vLicLareLroaolytrue.TLeLonestansver
vas tLat tLere is, in lact, a connection, vLicL literary persons
vere culpaLly slov to see, Letveen some kinos ol early
tventietLcentury art ano tLe most imLecile expresssions ol
anti-socialleeling.TLatvasonereasonamongmany,vLysome
olusturneoourLacksontLeartanotrieotoLackoutanevano
oinerentvaylor ourselves. `
lt migLt LaveLeen more Lonest ol:ir CLarles to say tLatLe
turneoLisLackontLepoetryolYeats,Pounoanolliot,Lecause
LelounoLeLaoneitLer tLetalentnor tLetastelor it, ano tLat
tLe nev or oiEerent vay Le ' Lackeo out` vas LotL easier ano
morepopular tLantLeirs.lutletusignoretLatpersonalaspect
oltLequestion. tLegeneralaccusationismoreimportant.
1 80 TH E G R EAT D E BATE
l Lavenooesiret ooeleno all tLe political opinionsolYeats,
Lliot,PounoorLevis-ontLecontrary, lLave oltenintLepast
expresseo my oisagreement vitL tLem, especially on tLe
question olpolitical means. lut in so lar as any or all oltLese
vritersattackeotLeprevailingmoneysystem (ameoievalset-up
to vLicL :ir CLarles' s scientilc lrienos migLt turn tLeir
attention-apart lrom tLe Marxists, :oooy is tLe only ois
tinguisLeoscientistvLo evergaveit a tLougLt) , l lail to seein
vLat respect tLey vere eitLer imLecile or antisocial. lt is still
possiLletomaintain,vitLreasonanoscientilcprool,tLatusury
Las Leen one ol tLe major causes ol misery in tLe mooern
vorlo, ano lor vickeoness one cannot suggest a rival to tLose
lnancialanotecLnologicalmonopoliestLatproltlromvarano
tLepreparationslorvar.
TLere is asciencecalleoeconomicsorpoliticaleconomy.ltis
tLeoisgrace ola tecLnological civilization. ltLaslaileotopro-
ouce anycoLerent science oltLe proouction, oistriLution ano
consumptionoltLe commooitiesprolilerateoLymacLinepro
ouction. lt Las laileo to give us an international meoium ol
excLangeexemptlromtLeßuctuationsanooisastersoltLegolo
stanoaro. lt is split into a riot olrival sects ano irreconcilaLle
oogmas vLicL can only Le compareo to tLe scLolastic Licker
ings oltLe Mioole Ages. lntellectuals migLt Lavemore respect
lorscienceilintLisonemostvitalsuLjectitvouloacLieveoroer
anoenligLtenment.ltcannotoo so, perLaps, Lecause a tecLno-
logicalcivilizationcanconceivenocontrollingioealotLertLan
tLematerialisticoneolaLigLerstanoaroolliving.:tanoaros (as
opposeotovalues)arescientilc-tLeycanLemeasureo.
TLe materialistic stanoaro is not questioneo Ly tLe scientist,
anoitisveryoißcult to criticizeit, especially ilone is onesell
enjoying a LigL stanoaro olliving. Most olour lellov Luman
Leings, as :ir CLarles points out, are unoerleo ano oie Lelore
tLeir time, anoa ' moraltrap' isinvolveo 'vLicL comestLrougL
tLe insigLt into man' s loneliness. it tempts one to sit Lack,
m
TH E G R EAT D E BATE 1 81
complacent in one' s unique trageoy, ano let otLers go vith
outameal ' . Asagroup,:irCLarlesclaims,scientistslallintotLat
trap less easily tLan otLers. tLey tLink tLat sometLing can Le
oone. TLey are even optimistic-'tougL ano gooo ano oeter
mineoto lgLtitoutat tLe sioe oltLeirLrotLermen' . Yes, one
knovs tLe type, anotLatisvLy so many oltLem Lecome, ano
even remain, communists. lut (ano tLis is tLe intellectual
counter-attack) tLeyneverstop to consioer tLe seconoary con-
sequences oltLe scientilcmeans tLeyvoulo aoopt. :irCLarles
Limsellquitecomplacently (no,Lopelully)lookslorvarototLe
inoustrializationolalltLoseareasoltLevorlotLatareLackvaro
intLetecLnologicalrace-lnoia,CLina,Alrica.OnlyLyrutLless,
urgent, massive inoustrialization can tLe native' s muo-Lut
Lecome an airconoitioneo apartment, Lis oaily Lovl olrice a
succulent steak, Lis loinclotL a oecent tvo-piece Terylene suit,
Lis spinningvLeel an automatic macLine. TLat Le vill
excLange tLe peaceanopoverty, tLelanguor ano covoung ol
Lis present village lor tLe noise ano letLal lumes olinternal-
comLustionengines,tLenervousanxietyanostomacLulcersol
tLe inoustrializeo city, is possiLly regaroeo Ly :irCLarles as a
small price topaylortLe material progress LeLasacLieveo. He
LaslostLisprimitivelaitLanoLas no explanation,mytLical or
religious, lor tLe lrantic lile Le leaos, Le is tLe victim ol
unconsciouslearsanopsycLicillnesses,LutincompensationLe
Las alongerexpectationollile-olaliletLatis inlact a social
neurosis,morevioespreaoanooevastatingtLananyplague ol
tLepast.
l am, presumaLly, vLat:irCLarlescalls 'anintellectualLuo
oite' . VitLRuskinanoMorris,TLoreau,LmersonanoLavrence
ano otLer 'men olleeling' lorvLom Le Las notLing Lut con
tempt,lLelievetLattLetecLnologicalrevolutionisaoisastertLat
is likely to eno in tLe extermination olLumanity, ano l Lave
vLatlvoulocallscientilcreasonslortLisLeliel Lile-tLevital
source oltLevilltolive-oepenosnot on comlort orevenon
1 82 TH E G R EAT D E BATE
`Le+ltL, lood+nd educ+tion' . ltdepends ontLe lree exerciseol
v+rious inn+teLum+n l+culties-tLe l+culty olperception, lor
ex+mple.SirRussell lr+in,vLois+gre+tscientist,L+ssuggested
tL+t' eitLerim+gesorsymLolsorLotLcomLinedgiveus+knov-
ledge ol tLe n+ture ol tLings Leyond LotL our immedi+te
experiences +nd tLestructureoltLepLysic+lvorldreve+ledLy
science' . TLisme+ns tL+tscienceitsell, no less tL+n+rt, depends
ontLepreserv+tionin+llits+cuteness+nd+v+renessol+l+culty
¸tLecre+tiveim+gin+tion)vLicLisdestinedtodieoldisusein+
mecL+nizedciviliz+tion.
ldonotpointtotLisscientilcl+ctlortLepurposeolunder-
mining science. On tLe contr+ry, l +m suggesting tL+t tLere
existsintLevLoleprocessolindustri+liz+tion+ndtecLnologic+l
invention + tendency to destroy sensuous perception +nd
im+gin+tiveexperience,tLeveryl+cultiesuponvLicLourscien
tilcknovledgeoltLen+tureoltLingsln+llydepends. lnsLort,
tecLnology ¸+ndtLe +utom+tismtL+tgoesvitLit) tendto des
troy Lum+n sensiLility, +nd it is upon Lum+n sensiLility tL+t
vL+t is Lum+n in us survives. VitLout sensiLility ve Lecome
roLots, tL+tisto s+y,lunction+l+nim+lsinc+p+Lleolmor+l+nd
+estLetic responses. Sir CL+rles novLere meets tLe intellectu+l
Luddite' s m+in cL+rge. tL+t tLe tecLnologic+l revolution l+cks
+nymor+lor +estLetic lound+tion, +nd tL+tnotLing pert+ining
to itsstructure+ndproceduresc+nprevent tLeuseolitsinven
tions lor +ntivit+l +nd inLum+n ends. Sir CL+rles m+y protest
tL+t+rt+ndmor+lity+renotscientilcsuLj ects,ilLedoesLeL+s
providedtLeonlyevidenceoltLeinLum+nityolsciencetL+tve
need. Our compl+int +Lout tLe Scientilc Revolution, tLerelore,
is tL+t it is not scientilc enougL-tL+t it ignores, vitL l+t+l
consequenceslortLevell+reolLum+nity,tLepsycLeolm+n-
tLe neur+l reßexes Ly vLicL Le lunctions +s sometLing more
tL+n+nim+l.
ltm+y seem +p+r+doxic+lconclusion Lut it is tLe inevit+Lle
one. tLe modern scientilc ideologist ¸lor Sir CL+rles Limsell
m
T H E G R EAT D E BATE 1 83
does notcl+imto Le+ scientist) issuperlci+l.ltisnotonly tL+t
Lec+nutter+' str+igLtlorv+rdtrutL' sucL+s`lndustri+liz+tionis
tLeonlyLopeoltLepoor`vitLout+nysenseolitscrookedness,
itisr+tLertL+tLec+n+ccept+revolution,` tLeScientilcRevolu-
tion' , loritsm+teri+lLeneltsvitLoutlor+momentconsidering
tLecostinLum+nv+lues.
SirCL+rlesm+yprotesttL+tLeusestLevord'Lopein+crude
+nd pros+ic' sense, +nd Le s+ys Le L+s `not mucL use lor tLe
mor+l sensiLility ol+nyone vLo is too relned to use it' . ls +
mor+lsensiLilitytoorelnedilit sees tLrougLtLedeceptionsol
tLosevLoexportsevingm+cLines+ndsypLilis ¸ortoLemore
up to d+te, tr+ctors +ndc+nceroltLe lung) +nd c+ll it civiliz+-
tion?lntellectu+lslikeAlLertScLveitzer+ndC+rloDolcidonot
cry out lor tLe industri+liz+tion ol tLe poor communities in
vLicL tLey live +nd vork-tLey +sk lor l+nd +nd lor tLe tools
vitLvLicLtocultiv+teit.
AdmittedlyvesL+ll need science topreserve Lum+nv+lues,
tLeLungrymultitudesproliler+te, +ndtLey c+nonlyLeled Ly
scientilc metLods ol+griculture. And only science c+nprevent
tLemproliler+ting. lood production +ndcontr+ception¬ilonly
sciencecouldconcentr+te ontLesetvoproLlems,totLeneglect
ol+tomic pover +nd journeys to tLe moon' Sir CL+rles migLt
+rgue tL+t tLere is no distinction, in + scientilc +ge tLe v+y
to plenty vinds round tLe moon. lut tL+t is to m+ke tLe
ends justily tLe me+ns, + mor+l oLtuseness tL+t seems to Le
insep+r+LlelromtLescientilcmind.
lvillnotspe+kol+tr+gicsenseollile, vLicLintLep+stL+s
Leen tLe source olmor+l dignity-+re ve not +ll +greed tL+t
tr+gedyistoLeL+nisLedlromtLeVell+reVorld?lut+ sense ol
gre+tness¬tL+tisperL+ps optimistic enougLlortLescientistto
+ccept+s+nide+l.lutdoesLere+lizevitLlurckL+rdt,tL+teven
tLis ide+l 'residesintLepover to lorgo Lenelts intLe n+me ol
mor+lity, in volunt+ry selldeni+l, notmerelylrommotives ol
prudenceLutlromgoodnessolLe+rt` ?
1 5
TH E ARTS AND P EACE
The task of art is enormous. Through the i nfl uence of real art,
aided by sci ence, guided by reli gi on, that peaceful co­
operation of man which is now maintai ned by external
means-by our law-courts, police, charitable i nstituti ons, fac­
tory i nspection, and so forth-should be obtai ned by man' s
free and joyous activity. Art should cause violence to be set
asi de.
And i t is only art that can accompli sh this.
Leo Tolstoy.
TLesevordsoldeepconvictioncome+ttLeconclusionol¼Lat
is At!, Tolstoy' s l+st gre+t polemic+l vork.' Tolstoy v+s con
vinced tL+t+nintim+terel+tionsLipexistsLetveen tLestructure
olsociety +nd +rt, +nd Le c+me to tLis conviction Lec+use Le
re+lizedtL+t+rtis+Liologic+lprocess ¸` +norg+nolLum+nlile' )
tLelunctionolvLicLi sto` tr+nsmitre+son+Lleperceptioninto
leeling' . Re+son+Lleperception, LyvLicLLeme+nt+ com Lin
What is At? and Essays on At. Trans. Aylmer Maude. Oxford University Press,
1 930.
¯
m
T H E A RTS A N D P E AC E 1 85
+tionoltLel+cultiesolscience+ndreligion,couldlreem+nkind
lrom illusions ¸religious, soci+l or judici+l) , est+LlisL tLe
LrotLerLood olm+n+stLe only re+son+Lle ide+l,+nd+rtvould
tLen present tLis ide+l inmoving +nd persu+sive lorms.All +rts
+re +rtsolpersu+sion. Ly cre+ting im+ges, symLols, l+Lles, tLey
c+n diEusetLrougLout tLe community tLe Lest tL+t is tLougLt
+nd lelt `LytLeLestmemLersolsociety` . ln+ simile olutmost
n+ivetyTolstoyendsLisess+yon¼Latis A|t!vitLtLesuggestion
tL+t tLereligious+rtoltLe luture ` villl+yin tLe soulsolmen
tLe r+ils +long vLicL tLe +ctions ol tLose vLom +rt tLus
educ+tes villn+tur+llyp+ss' .
TLe metLod recommended Ly Tolstoy L+s + suspicious
resemLl+ncetotLepr+cticesoltLemodern+dvertiser. +rtistLe
Lidden persu+der. llpe+ce is vL+t you v+nt, tLey migLt s+y,
tLen giveus tLe money +nd in next to no timetLerevill Le +
univers+ldem+ndlorit. lrotLerlyunion+mongmenis, indeed,
tLe decl+red ide+l olcert+inreligious or etLic+l org+niz+tions
vLicLdonotLesit+tetom+keuseoltLevilesoltLe+dvertiser.
Ve knov instinctively tL+t Tolstoyv+s mist+ken-notin Lis
ide+ls,+ndnotinLisinsigLts,LutinListLeories+nddelnitions.
Hisdelnitionol+rtis+delnitionolonekindol+rt-tLekind
vLicL,on+ne+rlierp+ge,lL+vec+lled 're+lism' . Artc+nequ+lly
vell Legin vitL leeling +nd seek perceptu+l im+ges to express
sucL leelings-tLe kindol+rt l L+ve c+lled ' expressionism' . As
lorscience,Tolstoy+dmitstL+tLitLertoitL+sdevi+tedlromits
truepurpose¸vLicLsLouldLe' todemonstr+tetLeirr+tion+lity,
unprolt+Lleness +nd immor+lity, olv+r+nd executions,or tLe
inLum+nity +nd L+rmlulness olprostitution, or tLe +Lsurdity,
L+rmlulness,+ndimmor+lityolusingn+rcoticsore+ting+nim+ls,
oltLeirr+tion+lity,L+rmlulness+ndoLsolescenceolp+triotism' ) .
lutTolstoynovLereexpl+insLovtLepurposeolsciencei s toLe
cL+ngedlrom ' producing+rticlesol luxuryorve+ponsolm+n
destroying v+r' to its truepurpose. His vLole +rgument is +
vicious circle. lor +rt c+n only c+use violence to Le set +side il
1 86 T H E A RTS A N D P E AC E
iti s motivateoLy a science translormeo Ly etLical or religious
ioeals. All oepenos on tLe prevalence ol `a common religious
perception' , vLicLispreciselyvLattLemooernvorlolacks.
AnoyettLerootoltLematterisinTolstoy,notsomucLinLis
polemicalessays,asinLisvorksolimagination.Tolstoyrealizeo
tLattLereisasuLtleLutmysteriousconnectionLetveenartano
violence. tLattLeyareoialecticalopposites anotLatartanoonly
artcaneliminateviolencelromtLeLeartolman.
Hovooes artoperateontLe Leartolman-oronLismino?
TLeansvertotLisquestionvaslrstgivenLyPlato.AlltLearts,
Lis argument ran, are essentially Larmonic-tLey make tLeir
eßectLyrLytLm,pLysicalvavestLatLeatontLeconluseosenses
ano inouce a leeling oleuoemony or vellLeing.Plato antici
pateoPavlovinatLeoryolconoitioneoreßexes.Hegavepriority
amongtLeartstogroupactivities, cLoricsongsanooances,ano
in The Laws Le oelneo a vell-eoucateoman as one vLo coulo
singanooancevell.Loucation,Lesaio,is' learningtoleelpleas-
ure ano pain aLout tLe rigLt tLings' (a oefnition to vLicL
AristotlegaveLisunqualileoapproval) anoinallseriousnessLe
asserteotLat' tLevLoleaestLeticanomoraltrainingoltLecLilo
can Le LrougLtunoer tLe Leaoing oleoucation in tLe "cLoric
art ", tLe art olsong accompanieoLytLe strainsoltLelyreano
tLe movements ol an appropriate ballet d'action' (A. L. Taylor' s
glossi nLis lntroouction to The LawsV All tLe arts are lorms ol
pLysical orill, Lut tLe orill is Laseo on true canons oltaste in
music,oncorrectLarmonics.llpeaceisyouraim,tLentLereisa
LarmonyvLicLvillinculcateitinlalliLly.lutilvarisyouraim,
youmustcLangetLemusic.
TLis is a perlectly reasonaLle ano coLerent tLeory.
UnlortunatelyitLasneverLeenputtotLetestonanationvioe
scale.TLeoLj ectiontLatilitveretruevesLoulolnoallpeople
vLoLaveLeentraineoincLoralmusicanooanceexceptionally
The Laws of Plato. Trans. by A. E. Taylor. London (Dent) , 1 934.
m
T H E A RTS A N D P E AC E 1 87
pacifc in temperament, vLereas tLey are as suLject as otLer
peopletoirrationalpassions,mayormaynotLeacorrectgener
alization,LutitisirrelevanttoPlato' sargument,vLicLoemanos
unilormityanouniversalityolaction.Platovasalvays insisting
ontLeprolounoeEectsolenvironment,vearevorkeouponLy
vLat ve see as vell as Ly vLat ve Lear ano Lov ve move.
CLoric oances in an ugly environment migLt mitigate tLe Lao
eEectsolsucLvisualmisproportions,itvoulonotpreventtLem.
lor tLis reason eoucation must alvays Le total. A velltrained
elite migLtseta goooexample (vLicLisreallyvLatTolstoyalso
envisageo) , Lut essentialtoPlato' stLeoryistLeLelieltLatioeas
oo not cLangemen,tLeyare cLangeo LypLysicallorces only.
TLe mino is a malleaLle suLstance,reaoy to Le impresseo lor
goooorevilLyvLateveritreceivestLrougLtLesenses.ltsLoulo
LeovervLelmeovitL Larmonic sigLts anosounos, proceeoing
lrom every quarter, 'like a Lreeze Learing LealtL lrom Lappy
regions' , so tLat ' some inßuence lrom noLlevorks constantly
lalls uponeye anoearlrom cLildLoooupvaro, ano imperceptibly
oravs tLem into sympatLy ano Larmony vitL tLe Leauty ol
reason,whose impress they take' . AnoitisintLeRepublic, lromvLicL
tLis passage comes, tLat Plato also makes clear tLe communal
Lasis olLis aim. TLepurposeolitallisnot ' tomake one class
speciallyLappy,LuttoensuretLevellareoltLecommonvealtL
asa vLole. lypersuasionor constraintitvillunite:Lecitizens
inLarmony,makingtLemsLarevLateverLeneltseacLclasscan
contriLute to tLe common gooo, ano its purpose in lorming
menoltLatspiritvasnottLateacLsLouloLelelt togoLisovn
vay, Lut tLat tLey sLoulo Le instrumental in Linoing tLe
communityintoone. '
ltmay seemalong crylromtLe ioeal repuLlicolPlatototLe
realitiesolavorlorentLypoliticalpassionsanolivingunoertLe
immeoiatetLreatoluniversal exterminationLy atomic varlare.
VLat is tLe purpose ol tLe arts in sucL a vorlo? Ve can
onlyamrm tLat tLe purpose is tLe same tooay as it vas in tLe
1 88 TH E A RTS A N D P E AC E
var-riooenvorlo olPlato, ano l knov olno otLerremeoylor
our conoition Lall so realistic as tLe eoucation tLrougL art
recommenoeo Ly Plato. Men' s minos must Le cLangeo, tLat
mustLetLesingleanoinsistentaimolallourpolicies ilve are
toavoiomutualoestruction.HovisitpossiLleto cLange men' s
minos?-tLat i s tLe only vortLvLile question. lut to cLange
tLem not lor tLe moment or lor an immeoiate aovantage. to
cLange tLempermanentlyanouniversally. TLatistLequestion,
ano tLeonlyansver vereceiveatpresent is tLat men's minos
can anomustLe cLangeo Ly moral suasion. l Lelieve tLis is an
illusion.
VLat is morality? lt is not a state ol mino Lut a mooe ol
action. Ourmorals are notoefneoLy vLat ve Lelieve Lut Ly
vLat ve oo. TLe root is tLe Latin mos ¸pl. mores) ano it meant
originallyavayolcarrying onesell, pLysicaluprigLtness, trao
itional LeLaviour. Mores vere transmitteo Ly custom, Ly tLe
imitationolparentsanoteacLers, anotLerevasalvayspresenta
sense olpersonal responsiLilitylorone' s actions.lmpossiLle to
traceLere tLe stepsLyvLicLsucLhabits of perfection Lecamecooi
feoanogeneralizeointoaLstractions,intolaws of conduct tovLicL
consciouscompliancevasexacteo-anunrealrelationsLip.TLe
consequence vas a veakening ol tLe Lonos ol traoitional
LeLaviour.llmanisnolongerresponsiLle to Limsell, Lutto an
aLstraction,LeLasatLousano cLances toLeevasive,toLeveak,
to Le mistaken. ll Le acts, no longer instinctively ano auto
matically, LutLycalculationanovitLcircumspection, Letenos
toactamLiguouslyanointolerantly.
TLetruesenseolmoralsvaslostamongtLepLilosopLersano
tLeologians, Lut it is Leing regaineo Ly tLe vriters ol tooay,
especiallyi nlrance,vLicLLasalvaysLeenacountryconcerneo
vitL moral conouctratLer tLanmoral cooes-one Las only to
recall Montaigne, RocLeloucaulo, Vauvenargues. TLis realism
reappears in tLe oeeply perceptivevorks olSaintlxupery ano
Camus-eveninMalraux,tovLomartisaLovealltranslorming
¯
TH E A RTS A N D P EAC E
action.Saintlxuperyi s perLapstLevritervLoLasmostclearly
¸certainlymost accessiLly) expresseoapLilosopLyolmoralreal
ism,vLicLperLapsaccountslor LisenormousinßuenceontLe
postvar generation in lrance ¸ano Lis lailure to make a like
impressionontLeßaLLymoraltissueoltLepostvargeneration
inCreatlritainanotLeUniteoStates) . ' ToLeLumanisprecisely
to Le responsiLle-responsiLìe a little lor tLe oestiny olman
kino,in the measure of his work. ' Saintlxupery ¸inTerre des Hommes) is
relerringtopracticalvork,togroupresponsiLility,totLelraier
nity olaction-not a responsiLility to moral aLsolutes, Lut to
our neigLLours, Tolstoy' s LrotLerLooo olman. TLere are no
systems olrigLt action, Lut only an instinctive uprigLtness, a
gooo,LecauselreeanounselfsL,LeLaviour.
`TLevorkolSaint-lxuperyisnotanargument, ' vritesoneol
Lis Lest commentators. ` 'lt is an example. ' TLus ve return to
Plato-at least, to tLe ioea tLat a rt can Lave a moral eEect, as
action ano not as persuasion. Cioe once remarkeo tLat Saint
lxupery's great oiscovery vas tLat man's Lappiness lies not in
lreeoom Lutin Lis acceptance ola outy. SuLstitute oestiny or
necessity loroutyanoCioe' soLservationisa commonplaceol
CreekpLilosopLy.Saint-lxuperyis saying sometLingmoreori
ginaltLantLis,sometLingmorepertinenttoourcontemporary
oilemma.HeissayingtLattLeonetLingtLatmattersistLeeEect
olaction,oltLeconstructive,tLecreativeeEort. ` ConstraintLem
to join inLuiloing a tover, ' says tLeoesertprinceto Lis sonin
CitadelJe (The Wisdom of the Sands) , ¯ ano you sLall make tLem like
LrotLers. lut ilyou voulo Lave tLem Late eacL otLer, tLrov
loooamongsttLem.AcivilizationisLuiltonvLatisrequireool
men,not ontLatvLicLisprovioeolortLem. . . . Man is, aLove
Everett V Knight, Literature Considered as Philosophy (Routledge & Keg ð Paul) ,
1 95 7.
The Wisdom of the Sands, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Trans. by Stuart Gilbert.
London (Hollis &Carter) , 1 9 5 2 .
1 89
1 90 T H E A RTS A N D P E ACE
all,LevLo creates. And tLeirs alonei s LrotLerLoodvLo vork
togetLer. '
TLisisaLetterrecipelorpeacetLanTolstoy' smuddledtalkol
perception and leeling, Lecause art is conceived as action tLat
translormsman,andneitLertLeintelligenceolsciencenor'rea
sonaLlereligiousperception' isaprerequisiteloritsLenelcent
enect. OneoltLe many laLles in The Wisdom of the Sands isaLout
tvo gardeners vLo Lad lived and vorked togetLer lor many
yearsandveretLenseparated,to tLeirgreatdistress.Altermany
yearsoneoltLegardeners receivedaletter lromLislriend.lull
oldeligLt and anticipating detailednevs olLis lriend'sadven-
tures,LeLrougLttLelettertotLeprinceandLeggedLimtoread
it, 'asoneLegsalriendtoreadapoem' . TLeprinceopenedtLe
letterandread.This morning I pruned my rose tr::s-andtLatvasall.A
great cLange Lelell tLe gardener. Lis peace olmindvas gone,
LutitvasnotuntiltLreeyearslatertLatLeLadacLancetoreply
to Lis lriend`sletter. ' lromnov onLetookto spending vLole
daysinLisroom,jottingdovnpLrases, crossingtLemout, start-
ing again, sticking out Lis tongue tLe vLile, like a scLoolLoy
poring over Lis lessonLook. He knev Le Lad sometLing
importanttosay,andsomeLovLemusttransportLimsell. . . to
LisaLsentlriend.lorLeLadtoLuildaLridgeovertLesundering
gulland, communing vitL tLe lriend vLo vas Lis otLer sell,
across :paceandTime,makeknovntoLimLislove.TLusaday
came vLen, LlusLing, Le came to me and sLoved Lis ansver,
LopingtoglimpseonmylaceareßectionoltLej oy tLatvould
ligLtuptLatolits recipient, andto testonmetLepoverolLis
message. And vLen l read it, l sav tLese vords, vritten in a
carelulyetunskilledLand-earnestasaprayercominglromtLe
Leart,yetLovsimpleandLovLumLle' -This morning l,too, pruned
my rose trees . . . '
A simple paraLle, LutitexpressestLe trutL. ltmayremindus
oltLe conclusion olCandide, LutVoltaire vas more cynical and
moreresigned. ' lllautcultivernosj ardins'isamoralcommand.
m
TH E A RTS A N D P E AC E 1 91
:aintLxuperymeans tLat groving roses isaconstructiveenort,
avorklikeLuildingatover, anart,andtLatsolongasmenare
j oinedtogetLerincreativeactivities, tLeyvill live atpeace.TLe
prince in tLe story lell silent, 'musing ontLat essential tLing l
vasLeginningtoperceivemoreclearly, loritvasTLou,0 Lord,
vLomtLeyvereLonouring, lusing tLeirlives togetLervitLin
TLee,aLoveandLeyondtLeirrosetrees, though they ke it not ' .
TLati stLelastLutnottLeleastimportantpointt omake.Our
creative activities sLould Le instinctive, LaLitual. TLe artist ol
todayisisolated,alienatedlromLislellov-menandlromnature.
TLeenortLemakesisaconsciousenort,anassertionoltLesell,
oltenan angry protest against Lis impotency. He Las tLis great
LealingpoverinLis possession, Lutno one comes to Lim lor
Lelp. He cannot act alone, even lor Lis ovn salvation. His true
vorkiscommunal. OtLerartists mustLevitLLim, vorkingon
tLe same proj ect. lndeed, all men must Le vitL Lim, eacL an
artist according to Lis kind, all men artists participating in tLe
vorktLatLasto Le done, allvorkLeing doneasart.
TLis may Le a gentle doctrine to oner amid tLe tyrannical
Lrutalities olour time, Lutve areconsideringtLe contriLution
vLicLtLeartscanmaketotLecauseolpeace, and tLeircontri
LutioncannotintLenatureoltLingsLeimmediate.lutaLegin-
ningcanLemade,especiallyamongmindsnotyetLardenedLy
tLeextremitiesolstrile. NooneknovsLovmucLgraceve are
given, Lut vLile a grain ol Lope remains, action is possiLle,
tovards unity, tovards mutual understanding, tovards tLe
relorm oleducation, tovards tLe slov process ol learning to
vork togetLer creatively, vLatever tLis may cost in pride and
sell-assertiveness.
I
INDEX
abstract art 129, 130, 1 32-3, 142
academic authority 1 02
aesthetics 13-14, 171-2, 174-5
Aesthetische Briefe (Schiller) 101
alienation 1 69
anarchism xv, xix, xxiii
Angst xx, 1jQ
antisemitism 62
anxiety xx, 139
architecture 1 26-7, 1 32
army, democratization of 56-8
Arnold, Matthew 63, 171
Art and the aesthetic sense 1 70-6;
epoch of 84; independence of x,
88; and the instruments of 174;
physicality of xx; revolutionary
125-33; and science 177-83;
social function of xiii, 122, see also
modern art
art for art' s sake go
ar engage 1 09
art market 87-8
The artist: choice of profession 1 00;
and consciousness 7, 1 39; and
democracy xi-xii; as egoists x-xi;
and freedom xvii, 112-24; as
mediator 4, 1 65; nature and
function of xvii, 1-9, 23, 1 24, 1 33;
personality of 105-6, 1 07, 1 15;
public image of 1 02; and
sensibility 33, 1 00; success of
99-l l l
artistic potential 121
The Arts; and liberty 78; and peace
184-91
assertiveness 68-9
association, principle of 59
audience xvii, 93, 109
Balzac, Honore de 53
Bartlett, Professor F. C. 6o, 68
Bateson, F. W. 1 43, 1 45
¯
beauty 13, 1 8, 84, 1 68
Berlin Diar (Shirer) 57
biology see human biology
Blake, William 1 02, 1 04-5
Blunt, Anthony xv
body politic 67
bohemians 1 09
bourgeois ideology 1 31
bourgeoisie, political control by xvii
Brain, Sir Russell 182
Buber, Martin 1 66-7
Burnham, James 67
capitalism 1 6, 1 8
censorship xiii, 1 67; and
pornography 1 58-62
centralization 45, 75, 78, see also
decentralization
chance 1 07-8
change xx, 1 36, 1 38-9
child, sensibility of 32
childhood amnesia 153-5
childhood sexuality xxii, 1 55, 157
China 118
Christian Socialism 39
civilization (s) 67, 1 36; growth of
70-84; and quality 1 71 -6
class 42, 64, 133
Classicism 136
cliche xxii
collective unconscious 4, 7, 8o, 1 65
Comfort, Alex xxiii
commercialization 94
communism ix, 40, 54, 67, 1 09, 126
community 1 68
consciousness xxii; advances of
137, 142; aesthetic 137; and art
171; and the artist 7, 139; and
education 1 64; human v social
161
I
/
I N D E X 1 93
conservatism 134
constructivism 1 13, 11 8, 1 23, 1 29,
1 33
contempt 1 48
control xxiii
co-operatives xvii, xix, 75, 95-1 00,
see also guilds
corruption 169
creativity xv, 88-g, 166, 1 91
critical approach, methods of l 22-3
criticism xi-xiii, 1 07, 170-1
Critique ofPolitical Economy ( Marx)
125
culture: growth of 7o-84
(conditions for 78-g); nature of
xxii, 28-31 ; <>riginsjhistory of
10-13; promotion of (Russia) 75
decadence 85-91, 1 29, 157
decentralization 44
democracy: and the artist xi-xii;
conditions of 15; fascism as 40,
48; meaning of 4, 14, 39-40;
values of 33; weaknesses of 40-1
democratic societies 117
Democratic Vistas (Whitman) 35
democratization of the army 56-8
design 71-4, 81 -3
detachment 1 28
Dewey, J ohn 31, 11 8
Dialectal Materialism x
dilettantism 4
discipline 58
Discoures ( Reynolds) 103-4
disillusionment 173
dissipation 86
Eagleton, Terry xi
eclecticism 11 6
economic inequalities 64-5
1 94 I N D E X
I N D E X 1 95
economics 26, 18o; and fascism Freudianism xx initiation 79 memory xxii, 1 56, 1 58
49-51 Fromm, Erich 50-4 initiative 55 mental personality, expressions of
education: aesthetic v. i ntellectual intellectuals 1 78-9 115
approach 31, 101-3; Plato 1 86-7; Gandhi, Mahatma 38 introversion X mind see human mind
and pornography 1 63-4; and geniusfes x-xi 52, 99-100 isolation 53 Mixed Essays (Arnold) 63
social ideals 79; and taste 72-3, Gentile, Giovanni 22 I taly 22 modern art 11 6, 1 30, 139, 142, 1 49
8o Gill, Eric xvii
modern societies 117
elites xxii, 64, 11 0-1 1 Gothic Revival xix, 1 38 J esus Christ 38 modernism ix, X
entertainment 170 Great Debate 177-83 The joy ofSex xxiii monarchy 41-2
epoch of art 84 Gropius, Walter 127 j ung, Carl Gustav xx, 114
money systems 180
equality 1 9, 42, 62-3, 65 Guerica xv I
morale s8
eroticism 152 guilds xviii, xix, 44-45, 97, see also Klee, Paul 1 00
morality 183, 188; and pornography
esotericism 110 co-operatives
1 66-9
exhibitions ix, x, 73 Lady Chatterley's Lover ( Lawrence)
Morris, William xvii, 39, 70
expressionism 1 1 3-14, 123, 185 happiness 121, 189 1 60-1
Mortimer, john xi
expressive leadership 68 harmony 124, 186 Lao Tzu 65-6
Murray, Gilbert 140-1, 149
extremism 142, 150 ' Hate Greed and Aggression' Lawrence, D. H. 1 59-61, 164
extroversion xx ( Riviere) 147
I
laws 63-4, 122
natural society 25, 46-7, 67
Hauser, Arnold xii The Laws 187
naturalism 113
failure of nerve 140, 149 Haydon, Benjamin Robert 100 leadership, cult of 48-69
Nazis 21 , 59
family 43 Herbert Read: A British Vision of Leaves ofGrass (Whitman) 36
neo- Marxists xiii
fascism xvii; aims v. methods 59- World Art (exhibition) ix Leeds City Galleries ix
neurosis xiv, 62, 1 43, 1 63
61; as democracy 40, 48; and history 49 Leeds I nstitute Gallery x
Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell) xv,
economics 49-51 ; Fromm, Erich Hitler, Adolf 50-2, 59-63 Letters to a Young Poet ( Rilke) 7
xvii
on 52-3; in I taly 22; origins of human biology xiii, xv libertarian societies 11 7-120
49-54; and psychology 49-50; human mind 114-15
I
liberty see freedom oligarchies 41 -2
and sado-masochism 54; as humility 89 libido, theory of xiii-xiv, xxii origination 1 67
socialism 21 literate masses 111 Orwell, George xv, xvii
fashion 107 idealism xx, 1 68
The Fear ofFreedom ( Fromm) so ideologies xv, 1 29, 1 31
I
managerial class 42 Paraskos, Stass x
formalism 123, 127-30, 1 32 I mpressionism 136 The Managerial Revolution parliamentary action 39
formative principle 137-8 impressive leadership 68 (Burnham) 67 patronage xvii, xix, 92-8
France 1 88 income 94 Mannheim, Karl 1 09-10 peace, and the Arts 78
freedom: and the act of creation independence x, 88 Marx, Karl 125-6, 128 perfectibility 172
88-9, 167; and the artist xvii, indifference 85-6 Marxism xiii-xvi, xxiii, 130-1 philosophy 65
112-24; and cultural growth 78; individualism xv, xxiii, 55, 129-30 Marxist criticism xi-xiii Picasso, Pablo ix, xv
and decadence 129; as 'letting industrial systems 74 masochism 54 plastic arts 115
alone' 23; as spiritual value 1 73 i ndustrialization 181-2 mass psychology so Plato 69, 186-8
Freedom and Culture ( Dewey) 1 1 8 i nequalities 64-5 mediative process 1 66 pleasure principle 6
Freud, Sigmund xiii-xiv, 153 infantile sexual aggressiveness 155
I
mediator, artist as 4, 165 poetry 146, 1 71
/
Z
æ
1 96 I N D E X
poets 5
politics of the unpolitical ), 38-47
Pop Art x
pornography xxiii, 151-68
poverty 89
power xxii, xxiii, 52, 54, 61, 178
Preface to the Lyrical Ballads
(Wordsworth) 5
production for proft 16-17
production for use 20
profession, choice of 100
progress 135, 172-4
propaganda 89, 109
psychological ills 122
Psychological Types (J ung) 114-15
psychology: and fascism 49. ¸O,
group v. individual 130; mental
activity, four types of 114-15; of
reaction 134-50
Psychology and Primitive Culture
(Bartlett) 6o
psychosis xv, 143
publicity 106-7
pure form 129, 132
qualifcations 45
quality 174
The Rainbow ( Lawrence) 159-60
reactionaryism 134-50, 145
realism 113, 118, 168, 185, 188-9
realistic integrity 153
reason 47, 141
reconstruction 133
Rede Lecture 177
Reformation 138
religion 173
renegades 143, 147
Republic (Plato) 187
responsibility 66-7, 98, 167-8, 189
revolution 90
revolutionary art 125-33
Reynolds, Sir j oshua 102-5
Rilke, Rainer Maria 7-8
Rivera, Diego 126
Riviere, j oan 147
Romanticism 21, 136, 138
Ruskin, J ohn xvii, xix, 38
Russia xix, 74-7, 90, 94, 118
sado-masochism 54
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de 189-91
sales organizations 106-7
scarcity value 86-7
Schachtel, Ernest 154-7
Schiller: J . C. F. von 101
schizoid temperament 144, 146
science 119, 139, 177
scientifc revolution 183
self-destruction 148-9
senses 32
sensibility 183; and the artist 33,
100; and the child 32; and
education 101; as method of
critical approach 123; moral 183;
and technology 182
Sermon on the Mount 38
sex 161
sexual fantasies 153
sexuality 161
Shaw, Bernard 63, 82
Shirer, V L. 57
Shostakovitch, Dmitri 126
Snow, Sir Charles 177, 179
social values 43
socialism 15, 17, 20, 39; fascism as
form of 21
socialist realism 109
solitude 8-9
Soviet system 75
Spanish Civil War xv
speech to the I ndustry Club in
Dusseldorf (Hitler) 51-2
spirit of the age 108, 137-9
spiritual activity 22
spiritual liberty see freedom
spontaneity 166
standards 180
style 128
sublimation xiii-xiv, xxii, 162-5, 168
succes d'estime 111
successful artists 99-111
superrealism (surrealisme) 113, 123,
131-2, 142
symbols xx, xxiii, 165
taboo 158
talent 99-101
taste 81-2, 92-3
Technological Revolution 178,
180-2
Tolstoy, Alexey 184-7
totalitarian societies ix, 117-18
trade unionsjmovement 41, 43, 66
tranquility 7-8
Trotsky, Leon 66, 131
I N D EX 1 97
Truth 168
The Two Cultures and the Scientifc
Revolution 177
ugliness 72-3, 81
unconscious 101, 161
usury 180
valuejs 43, 116, 122, 178, 180
violence 186
visual forms xx
vitality 78-9, 171
war 180, 187
Werth, A. 56
What is PH: (Tolstoy) 184
Whitehead, George xv
Whitman, Walt 35
Williams, Raymond xi
The Wisdom ofthe Sands (Saint-
Exupery) 190
Wordsworth, William 5-7, 143-6
work xix, 97
worker control 20, 25
Zeitgeist 108, 137-9
Her ber t Read
To He l l wit h Cu l t ure
' He wri tes about books and unbeatabl e authori ty
Herbert Read was a maveri ck character i the cul tural l i fe of the
and an en i ghteni ng vot ce.
most i nf l uenti al art crt ti cs of the twent t et
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